Share Holiday Cheer!

The Holiday Mail for Heroes program is an avenue for people to share their appreciation of those who have served our country. The goal is to give service members and Veterans a little holiday cheer by presenting them with letters and cards of thanks.

This year, we are collecting hand-made or store bought cards. Plus, we have JUMBO cards around the state and at special events for residents to sign.  We kicked-off the campaign at the state Capitol.  Cards received by December 11th will be sorted and then presented at common Wisconsin venues, military installations, VA Hospitals, State Veteran Homes and more.

IMG_2134Get in the holiday spirit and send us your best cards! We’ll do the rest!  Here are few guidelines to get you going:

What is the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program? Since 2006, the American Red Cross has received and distributed nearly 10 million holiday cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Veterans. The Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program enables Americans to “Give Something That Means Something” this holiday season by signing and sending cards of thanks, encouragement and holiday cheer to members of our U.S. Armed Forces and Veterans.

I don’t know anyone in the military; how do I participate? You don’t need to know anyone in the military. Red Cross workers will distribute signed cards from the community to members of the military and Veterans right here in Wisconsin.

Cards are not addressed to anyone specific, so who gets these cards? We will distribute cards to service members and Veterans throughout Wisconsin. Cards will be handed to service members and Veterans, or displayed at common venues in military installations and hospitals.

Can I drop cards off at my local Red Cross office? Yes, your created cards can be dropped off by December 11th at your local Red Cross office or even better mail them to: American Red Cross, 4860 Sheboygan Avenue, Madison, WI 53705

Will my card be distributed to our troops overseas? Our National office has shipped cards to military bases around the globe so your cards will make the holiday brighter throughout Wisconsin.

What is the goal for the 2015 Holiday Mail for Heroes Program? The goal is to share season’s greeting and holiday cheer to the members of our Armed Forces and Veterans, creating millions of smiles.

Are there other restrictions and guidelines for cards? In order to make cards as meaningful as possible to a wide audience, choose or create  “Happy Holiday” cards and use generic titles such as “Dear Service Member, or Veteran” when writing cards.  Cards should not contain:

  • Glitter that could aggravate existing health issues.
  • Enclosures such as money calling cards, photos, or other gifts.
  • Complete mailing address.  (City and State are okay)
  • Email addresses.

Can I include money in the cards? Please do not enclose money with the holiday cards. If you wish to provide financial support for Red Cross services to the military, please donate online.

How can I find out more information about the Holiday Mail program?

More than 2.1 Million Cards Sent through Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes

Red Cross Follow-Up:

Holiday Cards Distributed to Members of the Military Across the Globe

Students from Franklin Elementary read their letters and cards to the Veterans at the Wisconsin Veteran's Home at King.

Students from Franklin Elementary in Oshkosh read their letters and cards to the Veterans at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home at King.

People across the country sent in more than 2.1 million cards to the 2013 American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes project, a record level of holiday greetings for members of the United States military, Veterans and their families.

The cards bearing messages of thanks and gratitude were distributed by the Red Cross all over the world, on military bases and in military hospitals, Veteran’s hospitals and to military families in the U.S. and abroad. This was the seventh year for the project which allows people to send holiday well wishes to members of the Armed Forces, their families and the country’s Veterans

Cards came from people from all walks of life: church groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, clubs, businesses, families and thousands of school children. Ten National Football League teams supported the program by helping host card-signing events at games.

“Americans continue to show their unwavering support for the U.S. military in the more than 2 million cards sent through the 2013 Holiday Mail for Heroes program,” said Sherri Brown, senior vice president, Service to the Armed Forces for the Red Cross. “We thank everyone who took time to express their thanks and holiday wishes to help make the holidays a little brighter for those who serve our country.”

2,944 cards collected from the employees of Humana from their three locations in Green Bay.

2,944 cards collected from the employees of Humana from their three locations in Green Bay.

Locally, we collected around 50,000 cards for the state of Wisconsin.

The cards went to a special post office box for screening, packaging and were shipped to Red Cross offices around the world. Volunteers took time out of their busy holiday schedules to help screen, sort and deliver the holiday greetings to the military, veterans and their families.

Holiday Mail for Heroes began in December 2007 when Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. approached the Red Cross to assist in distributing thousands of holiday cards to hospitalized servicemen and women. The program has grown to become a nationwide effort to honor and remember the nation’s military during the holiday season.

Holiday Mail for Heroes is part of the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces program. For more than 130 years, the Red Cross has provided comfort and support to troops – including the 2 million current members, 24 million veterans and the families who support all of them.

It’s Not to Late to Send Your Holiday Card!

Cards made by the children at the Apple Tree Connection Daycare in Appleton.

Cards made by the children at the Apple Tree Connection Daycare in Appleton.

You still have time to send a holiday cards through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program before the post office box closes on December 6.

During the holiday season, this Red Cross program delivers tens of thousands of cards to service members, veterans and their families at military hospitals and installations across the country and around the world. 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.

“Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to sit down with family members to write words of gratitude and holiday cheer to the brave men and women who serve our country,” said Sherri L. Brown, senior vice president, Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces. “So many members of our military find themselves far from loved ones during the holiday season, and a message of support helps bring a touch of home to our troops wherever they are.”

Whether handmade or purchased, Americans can send cards postmarked no later than December 6 to ensure they are delivered in time for the holidays. All holiday greetings should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes

P.O. Box 5456

Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

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, people also can 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 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.

Military, Families, Veterans, Remembered by Millions during Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes Program

One of the many cards distributed. Thank you to the Green Bay Packers for  providing the picture and Camera Corner Connection Point in creating these cards for our community to sign for military members and Veterans.

One of the many cards distributed. Thank you to the Green Bay Packers for providing the picture and Camera Corner Connecting Point in creating these cards for our community to sign for military members and Veterans.

The American public remembered members of the U.S. military, their families and veterans by sending in more than 1.2 million cards during the sixth annual Holiday Mail for Heroes program, a joint initiative of the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes.

The holiday cards bearing messages of thanks and gratitude were distributed all over the world, on military bases and in military hospitals, veteran’s hospitals and to military families in the U.S. and abroad. All across the country, people from all walks of life sent in cards, remembering the men and women who serve their country.

This year, nine National Football League teams supported the program by helping host card-signing events at games and celebrities such as Trace Adkins supported the campaign. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate held card signings on Capitol Hill. The first families of Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Georgia visited military and veterans’ hospitals to distribute cards.

“We thank all the generous people who collectively sent in more than a million cards this year,” said Sherri Brown, senior vice president, Service to the Armed Forces at the Red Cross. “The cards went to people all over the world, to places far and near, including ships at sea. These expressions of thanks and cheer make the holidays a little brighter for those who have sacrificed so much for our country.”

The cards went to a special post office box operated by Pitney Bowes, who screened, packaged and shipped the cards at no charge to Red Cross offices around the world. Red Cross and Pitney Bowes volunteers helped screen, sort and deliver the holiday greetings to the military, veterans and their families.

Holiday Mail for Heroes began in December 2007, when WalterReedArmyMedicalCenter in Washington, D.C. approached the Red Cross to assist in distributing thousands of holiday cards to hospitalized servicemen and women.  In response to this request, the Red Cross partnered with Pitney Bowes to turn the project into a larger opportunity that could reach members of the military at other medical facilities in this country and abroad.

About Pitney Bowes:
Delivering more than 90 years of innovation, Pitney Bowes provides software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Long known for making its customers more productive, Pitney Bowes is increasingly helping other companies grow their business through advanced customer communications management. Pitney Bowes is a $5.4 billion company and employs 30,000 worldwide. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity™. www.pb.com

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

 

NBC26 Cares: Holiday Mail for Heroes

By Stacy Engebretson NBC26

Click HERE for video of story.

Lt. Colonel Michael Hert answers questions at Holy Spirit School before making cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

Thousands of military members will spend the holidays this year far away from the ones they love.

To lift their spirits, students in Darboy are teaming-up with the American Red Cross to send our soldiers a little piece of home.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hert is back from the war in Afghanistan, but he still has one more mission to complete.

“To be able to come back to them and say to those children, ‘thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,'” explained Hert.

Hert spent last Christmas overseas with Ashwaubenon’s 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion.

“It’s hard because the bottom line is that you’re away from home,” he said.

The soldiers may be gone, but they are not forgotten. Students at Holy Spirit School in Darboy are making cards for the American Red Cross’ “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program.

Fourth grader Mary Loker described the card she created. “We wrote, ‘Thank you for your years of service in your battles. We are thinking of you.'”

“I feel like they’ll like it because being out there is kind of scary, and if they just get a card, it’s all that matters,” said fourth grader Joseph Hopwood.

Second grade teacher Sue Calmes is one of the organizers of this year’s card making effort at Holy Spirit School. She believes it’s a good lesson for her students.

“I think that the kids of today need to know and appreciate what other people are doing for them and the freedoms that we have,” explained Calmes.

The Red Cross’ goal is to collect 20,000 holiday cards in Northeast Wisconsin. Half of those cards will be delivered to veterans who live in the area.

“We go to shopping malls. We were at the Green Bay Packers’ blood drive just last week, so it’s a collective effort by the entire community to be able to send such a positive message during the holidays,” said Steve Hansen, Chapter Executive for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin.

Lieutenant Colonel Hert will be forever grateful for the card he received while deployed. Last week, he got the opportunity to visit Holy Spirit School. He thanked the students for their words of encouragement and for creating the cards again this year, so the soldiers know that someone back home is grateful for their sacrifice this holiday season.

“It means a great deal to me, because I know that somebody will be able to have the same experience that I had last year,” said Hert.

If you’d like to send a message of support, you can pick-up a free card at your local Red Cross office. They’ll even cover the cost to mail it, but cards must be postmarked by December 7th to be delivered in time for the holidays.

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Each year the American Red Cross provides assistance to more than 2 million service members and many of our nation’s 24 million veterans. We support military families, military and veterans hospitals and provide emergency communications across the globe. And once a year, we get the joy of delivering holiday cards to veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world.

The cards and personal messages, sent by tens of thousands of Americans, provide a welcome “touch of home” for our troops during the holiday season.

Visit our YouTube channel to see Red Cross volunteers distributing cards and messages in previous years: Holiday Mail for Heroes YouTube playlist.

Each year we collect cards between October and early December and then distribute them at military installations, veterans hospitals, and in other locations.

Throughout the year, you can make a difference with a monetary gift to Help Military Families through the Red Cross. Your donation can help change a military family’s life. Donate Now.

There are several ways to be part of the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. In addition to sending cards on your own, you may want to start making plans to host card signing parties or card making parties. Here are a few guidelines to help you on your way:

Card Guidelines:

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes 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.
All holiday greetings should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes

P.O. Box 5456 Capitol Heights

MD 20791-5456

The deadline for having cards to the P.O. Box is Friday, December 7th. Holiday cards received after this date cannot be guaranteed delivery.