Red Cross Chapters Enable Public to Give Something that Means Something this Holiday Season

“Holiday Mail for Heroes” Mailbox Open Through December 6

The local kick-off to the 2013 Holiday Mail for Heroes program signifies that Americans who wish to send a holiday card to a service member can easily do so with the help of the Red Cross.

From now through to December 6, Americans can express their gratitude and best wishes for the holiday season to those who give the ultimate gift to our country. Service members, Veterans and their families will receive cards across the country and around the world.

m21766142_514x260-holiday-mail-for-heroes-girl“It just takes a moment to sign a card to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the military community make,” said John Kost, Services to Armed Forces Program Manager. “You say thanks, and we’ll do the rest.”

The Red Cross invites the public to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer by mailing them to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Card Guidelines
Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country. Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

Red Cross volunteers across the United States and on military installations overseas sort and deliver the cards throughout the holiday season. The Red Cross has received and distributed more than 6.5 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Veterans and their families since the program began in 2006.

Each local chapter is also recruiting volunteers to help distribute cards to military members and Veterans in the community around the holidays. In past years, cards have been presented at hospitals, clinics, nursing home and VFW events.

Photo on 2013-10-31 at 20.57 #2

Cienna Vang, 6, shows off her creativity with holiday cards. Her special note to the troops- “Thank you for keeping us safe. I hope you get a lot of presents.”

To ensure that cards are delivered in time for the holidays, they must be postmarked no later than December 6. Individuals are asked to refrain from sending letters, monetary donations, or any other kinds of inserts with the cards and from using glitter. More information and card requirements can be found at redcross.org/holidaymail.

The Red Cross also invites the public to share photos and videos of their card signing efforts or their holiday greeting for troops by using the hashtag #HolidayMail on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine accounts. The Red Cross will use the material on its social sites throughout the holiday season.  The public also can connect with fellow card senders through Facebook.com/redcross and Twitter.com/redcross using the hashtag #holidaymail.

The Red Cross relies on the support of the American people to carry out its mission of service to the 2 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces, 24 million veterans and their families. During this holiday season, the public can also support all Red Cross services by making a financial donation at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. Individuals can also give the gift of life by making an appointment to give blood at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

Red Cross pushes for blood before holiday season

Jennifer Blanton, collection specialist, visits with Donald Gilbert of Green Bay as he donates blood during Tuesday’s drive at the Lambeau Field Atrium. The blood drive was hosted by the American Red Cross and the Green Bay Packers. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

Written by Charles Davis Green Bay Press-Gazette

“If he wouldn’t have pushed me, I would have never gave. I just wouldn’t have thought about it,” Judy Landwehr of De Pere said as she lay back in a lounge chair. She said she had not donated blood in about eight years due to low iron levels.

The Green Bay Packers and the American Red Cross partnered on the event, which was held on the Legends Club Level on the fourth floor.

The Landwehrs both have A-positive blood types, which means they could donate to one another if needed.

“We’re good for each other,” Judy Landwehr said with a smile.

Visitors on Tuesday each donated a pint of blood, which can save up to three lives. Organizers said 268 people donated blood, which
could benefit more than 800 people, said Bobbi Snethen, spokeswoman of the regional Red Cross blood services that covers much of Wisconsin, Iowa and Upper Michigan.

“It’s an outstanding turnout. Everyone wants to come to Lambeau Field,” she said while watching a handful of people who drank coffee or ate chocolate chip cookies after donating blood.

There is a greater need for O-negative blood, which can be given to patients with any blood type, she said. The Red Cross also had
increased need for A-negative and B-negative blood types. The Red Cross generally meets local needs first before blood is sent nationwide, Snethen said.

The blood drive was important because donors are typically busier during the holiday season and sometimes don’t come out due to weather concerns, she said. Getting blood drawn takes about 15 minutes.

The most common blood types are O-positive and A-positive. People are eligible to donate a pint of blood once every eight weeks.

“Which a lot of people forget,” Snethen said. “We call them and remind them.”

The event also featured a raffle with the chance to win Packers collectibles. Visitors also signed holiday cards, donated by Oshkosh-based Miles Kimball Co., as part of the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program, which sends messages to service members.

Richard Huguet, 69, of De Pere wore a gray Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XLV T-shirt. He began donating his A-negative blood this
summer after a nearly 45-year hiatus, he said. “It helps a lot of people out,” he said.

Holiday Joy To Veterans & Military Families Delivered

Local American Red Cross volunteers deliver holiday greetings through the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program to area VA Hospitals

Red Cross Volunteers Bev Schuelke, Janet Herter, Cliff Schuelke, and Sandy Hofler showing some of the holiday cards being handed out to the Veterans in King, WI. Photo By: Barbara Behling, American Red Cross

Holiday greetings made for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program were delivered to Veterans at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King, Wisconsin today and at the Oscar G. Johnson facilities, in Iron Mountain, Michigan over the weekend. The King facilities are home to 675 former military service members, and the Veterans Assistance Program also houses 30 men and women.

The Holiday Mail for Heroes program provides Americans with the opportunity to send holiday greetings and a note of thanks to our men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. Each year the Red Cross provides assistance to over two million service members and many of the nation’s 24 million veterans. At the core of the Service to the Armed Forces mission is the commitment to support military families, military and veterans hospitals and provide emergency communications across the globe.

Many community groups and schools throughout the region participated in this year’s program with more than 12,000 cards were created and signed with heart-warming messages. A special thank you is extended to the following groups who participated:

  • Franklin Elementary, Oshkosh
  • Shapiro Elementary, Oshkosh
  • Smith Elementary, Oshkosh
  • Johnston Elementary 3rd grade class, Appleton
  • Lincoln Elementary 3rd grade class, Appleton
  • Janet Berry Elementary 3rd grade class, Appleton
  • Appleton Christian School 1st grade class, Appleton
  • Little Chute Elementary 1st and 4th grade classes
  • Woodland Elementary 3rd Grade class, Kimberly
  • Park Elementary 1st through 4th grade classes, Kaukauna
  • 3rd Grade Religious Education class of Holy Family Parish, Fond du Lac
  • Maplewood Middle School, Menasha
  • Florence High School, Florence, WI
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Gymnastics Team
  • University of Wisconsin Green Bay students
  • UW Green Bay Red Cross Club
  • UW Oshkosh Red Cross Club
  • Valley Visiting Nurse Association, Neenah
  • First Congregational Church, Oshkosh
  • Faith United Methodist Church, Neenah
  • Many Boy and Girl Scout Troops throughout the area

 A special thank you goes to Miles Kimball in Oshkosh for donating 2,500 cards which were signed at local events in area malls, at craft shows and at area businesses.

 In addition, Pitney Bowes in Neenah collected & shipped more than 8,600 cards, which more than doubled their goal of 4,000 cards. The holiday cards will be distributed throughout the nation and to those serving overseas.

 About the Northeast Wisconsin Region: The Northeast Wisconsin American Red Cross is a regional grouping of four chapters serving 20 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters throughout the East Central Wisconsin, Lakeland, Outagamie and Scenic Shores Chapters. To learn more about Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the Northeast region at 920-231-3590 or visit www.NewRedCross.org

 About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.