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?

We Live In a Community of Much Generosity

Out of tragedy and disaster comes the stories of courage, strength and acts of kindness. Kate Burgess, CEO, FulfillNet and her team, demonstrate firsthand how a small act of kindness can make a big impact.

In honor of the companies they serve, many on the East Coast, they have chosen to forego a traditional holiday gift and instead give a significant donation to offer assistance to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Thank you to Kate and your team for your $3,000 gift to the American Red Cross!  Your gift will go far in providing hope and help to those in need.

Thank you for being a friend of the American Red Cross and for all you do in our community!

(Below is Kate’s letter sent to their customers.) 

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.

UWGB community donates for blood drive

By Tanisha Richter  News Writer, Fourth Estate: Published: Monday, December 5, 2011

The UW-Green Bay Student-Athlete Advisory Committee collaborated with the American Red Cross to hold a pre-Thanksgiving blood drive Nov. 21.

The drive, which took place in the Phoenix Rooms, was one of several drives that take place on campus throughout the school year, according to Dave Liethen, donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross.

The November blood drive collected around 50 pints of blood, five units short of the goal for the day, Liethen said.

The 50 pints could potentially save up to 150 lives.

“There’s a continuous need,” said Amy Henniges, director of Counseling and Health Services. “The demand always seems to exceed the supply.”

Otis Jones, freshman pharmacy program student, donates blood at the American Cross blood drive in the Phoenix Rooms Nov. 21. Photo by Sadie Wilson/Fourth Estate

According to Christine Vandenhouten, assistant professor of nursing, individuals whose blood has no antigens, type O-negative, are in particular demand because their blood is compatible with all different blood types.

Blood type O is the most often requested by hospitals, according to the American Red Cross website.

“For many patients who are recipients of blood products, including blood cells or plasma, would probably die without these products,” Vandenhouten said. “When someone donates blood, whole blood is extracted and then blood donation centers are able to separate the component parts so one unit of blood could perhaps benefit many people.”

Donated blood is needed for a variety of different medical cases, including victims of trauma, cancer patients and sickle cell anemia patients, according to the American Red Cross website. However, in some instances, people are able to plan in advance to help conserve the use of other blood donations.

“In the case of trauma where you have massive blood loss, certainly individuals in that situation need more blood than an individual who receives blood in advance of surgery, possibly having their own blood or a family member who’s compatible donate their blood,” Vandenhouten said.

Advancements in medical technologies have also allowed for the conservation of donations.

“There’s minimal blood loss in most surgical procedures today,” Vandenhouten said. “When surgeons anticipate a lot of blood loss, they actually can use a device called a cell saver, where they extract the individual’s blood and collect it. By doing that, they reduce the need for donated blood, but obviously that’s only going to work in the event that somebody anticipates the need.”

Blood donation centers typically try to keep the donations local whenever possible, Vandenhouten said. However, it is possible for donations to travel across the country.

“It can go back to this area in Wisconsin, Iowa, upper Michigan and northern Illinois,” Liethen said. “If those hospitals’ needs are met, then it can essentially go anywhere in the country.”

While blood donations in this area have been at a steady rate, the approaching end of year may put a halt in further donations, Liethen said.

“Any day the weather can change, and instead of getting rain it could be freezing rain, or sleet or snow, and that tends to lead to a few more accidents,” Liethen said. “In addition, we know it’s getting close to finals. Students are studying and focusing on those things rather than donating. People in general are getting busy with holiday activities rather than donating blood.”

While the distractions of the holiday season may be hard to avoid, Liethen stressed the importance of remembering the impact donating blood can have.

“People take trips to the grocery store, or maybe they want to get together with friends, or they travel for the holidays to go back home,” Liethen said. “Everybody plans those things out but nobody plans to need a blood transfusion—but, if you live to the age of 72 or older, chances are you’re going to need blood at least once in your life. We need to make sure the blood is not only collected, but tested, and it’s waiting there at the hospitals for doctors to transfuse.”

 

Wishing you and your Family a Happy Holiday Season!

Guest Blog Post: Steve Maricque, Executive Director, American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter

The holiday season is fast approaching.  It’s a wonderful time of the year as it provides an opportunity to reflect and be thankful for our blessings –family, friends, good health and good times!  It’s also a season of hope.  Hope that better days are ahead.

We are so thankful for our many volunteers who dedicate themselves towards helping others in need and delivering the mission of the American Red Cross.  We appreciate and are thankful for our donors, who provide the valuable funds needed to deliver our services.  Without our volunteers and donors, we would not exist as an organization.  You make the American Red Cross a truly remarkable organization.  An organization that shows compassion and care for others during difficult times.

This year more than ever, we need your help!  Donations are down this year.  In this season of hope we need your help to have sufficient funds available to save the day for a family in need when their home burns down, when a family needs to contact a soldier around the world with an emergency message or someone is able to save the life of a family member because they are trained in how to use CPR.

We need to be prepared to meet the challenge before us whenever and wherever it is needed.  I ask for your gift to help make that possible and to ensure that your gift will save the day and give hope to someone when it’s needed most.

Thank you so very much for your consideration.  May you and your families have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Sincerely,

Celebrities Support Red Cross Holiday Giving Campaign

 Television, movie and music personalities urge people to give the gift that saves the day

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2010 — More than a dozen celebrities are urging their fans and the public to donate to the American Red Cross this holiday season and give a gift that could save the day for someone in need.

Celebrities who are actively encouraging support for the Red Cross holiday giving campaign include actors Josh Duhamel, Marlee Matlin, Jane Seymour, Jackie Chan and Jimmy Smits; television personalities Dr. Phil McGraw, Nancy O’Dell and Leeza Gibbons; and award-winning music stars Chayanne, Reba, Rascal Flatts, Wynonna Judd, Sara Evans and Pat Green. All are members of the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet.

The Red Cross holiday giving campaign features an online “Gifts that Save the Day” catalog that enables people to make a tax-deductible charitable donation this holiday season that could provide food and shelter for a disaster victim for a day; a military comfort kit with a robe, phone or music card and other supplies for a wounded warrior; or basic necessities for a family who lost everything in a disaster. 

Catalog gifts are contributions toward a Red Cross program area, not a donation to a specific project or item. The donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most within the program area; the remaining money is put to use where it is needed most. Many mobile phone owners can also make a $25 donation by texting GIFT to 90999.

Smits narrates the Red Cross holiday television advertisement, now airing across the country this season, which describes the Red Cross moment when people go from despair to hope during an emergency or disaster.

“This holiday season, I’m giving the gift of hope by supporting my local American Red Cross,” Reba said in a video message about the campaign. “Instead of sweaters and ties, I’m giving gifts from the Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog.” Reba also has sent an e-mail to Red Cross supporters nationwide encouraging them to donate this holiday season.

Seymour is the primary celebrity spokesperson for the campaign and will be participating in a series of television and radio interviews promoting support of the Red Cross the last week of December, a time when many people make year-end tax-deductible donations to charities. 

“Perhaps it’s because my father was a doctor, or because I played one on television, but I think my favorite gift in the catalog is the gift of vaccination against measles,” Seymour said. “It’s a great honor to be asked to take part in this worthwhile endeavor for the American Red Cross. I can tell you from personal experience that the time I spend volunteering has enriched my life.”

“You can really make a difference for a lot of families by contributing to the Red Cross Holiday Gift catalog,” said Duhamel, who promoted giving to the Red Cross during an interview with Entertainment Tonight. Dr. Phil shared Red Cross inspirational items for military members on his recent holiday show. Donations in support of members of the military are among the most popular Red Cross contributions.

Celebrities are also reaching tens of millions of their fans and supporters by using their digital media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and websites to promote donations to the Red Cross.  

For example, Judd informed her Twitter followers, “$25 vaccinates 25 children around the world against measles. Wanna help? http://bit.ly/RCHoliday.” Chayanne, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Matlin, O’Dell, Evans, Green, Gibbons and Chan have “tweeted” or made Facebook or website postings, urging their followers to support the Red Cross holiday campaign. 

Each celebrity’s work on the holiday campaign is just the latest example of their support of the Red Cross.   

A recent Red Cross survey showed that despite the economy that has impacted so many Americans, people plan to give to charity this holiday season, with nearly six in ten (57 percent) planning to donate at least $50 to charitable causes over the holidays.

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.

 

What Have American Presidents Said About the American Red Cross?

Since President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the first Red Cross Month in 1943, every American President has had something to say about the American Red Cross and its contributions to the United States.


“I request that during that month (March) our people rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross. I summon the men, women, and young people of our country, in every city and town and village, in every county and state throughout the land, to enlist in the army of mercy mobilized under the banner of the Red Cross and to contribute generously to the Red Cross War Fund.”

–President Franklin D. Roosevelt, first Presidential Proclamation, 1943

“In order to help meet a growing post-war need, which would be multiplied in the event of a national emergency, this agency has inaugurated a national blood program intended to ensure eventually the availability of lifesaving blood to the entire nation.”

–President Harry S Truman, 1949 Red Cross Month Proclamation

“The services of the Red Cross demonstrate our nation’s tradition of neighbor helping neighbor.”

–President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959

“Today as the Red Cross embarks upon its second century of service, each of us has an opportunity and an obligation to become a part of this humanitarian tradition. For only through our help is this important work made possible.”

–President John F. Kennedy on the 100th anniversary of the Red Cross Movement, 1963

“On every battle field, a flag of mercy flies. Its white field bears a Red Cross-the universal symbol of human compassion. Under that flag, there are no enemies, no racial or religious animosities. There are only brothers.”

–President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968 Proclamation

“Born of war and raised in adversity, the American Red Cross has evolved many traditions in its universal quest to ease human suffering, but none have served it so durably as its tradition of flexibility.”

–President Richard M. Nixon, 1970 Proclamation

“Through the years, the American Red Cross has maintained an outstanding record of voluntary humanitarian services, fulfilling with high dedication and skill the obligations of its congressional charter.”

–President Gerald R. Ford, accepting position of Honorary Chairman, 1974

“Traditionally, March is Red Cross Month. During this period I hope all Americans will reflect of the selflessness that has led so many of our neighbors to serve the Red Cross-and their fellow Americans- with their time, their energy, and their love. We can follow their example by supporting our local Red Cross chapter.”

–President Jimmy Carter, 1977 Proclamation

“With unfailing resourcefulness, zeal, and compassion, Red Cross volunteers have proved equal to the challenges of our time. In peace and in war, they have reflected the humanitarian instincts of the American people.”

–President Ronald Reagan, 1981 Proclamation

“[F]or millions of people in need. . .the Red Cross is a brilliant point of light-part of that vast galaxy of individuals, businesses, schools, churches, synagogues, and voluntary associations working together to solve problems. . . . For 109 years that star has shone anytime there has been a need-anywhere there is a need. And today it dazzles still. . . .providing light at the end of the tunnel, a rainbow through the clouds.”

–President George Bush, at a ceremony at national headquarters, 1990

“Its [the American Red Cross’s] commitment to caring for others enables us to restore hope in the lives of injured citizens, and its example challenges us to revitalize the covenant of American citizenship. The long-term strength of our nation depends upon our willingness to live out the ideals long embodied by the American Red Cross. To celebrate our past and to safeguard our future, I am proud to commend the countless individuals whose courage and selflessness have sustained this organization for more than a century.”

–President Bill Clinton, 1995 Proclamation

“By donating their time and energy to selflessly serve others, American Red Cross volunteers demonstrate the compassion and generosity for which Americans are known. Their service paves the way to a brighter future for our citizens and people around the world.”

–President George W. Bush, 2006 Proclamation

“The Red Cross has continued to serve those suffering from large- and small-scale disasters. The organization is best known for its work helping communities deal with major disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. These large-scale disasters represent a major part of the work of the American Red Cross. Just as important are the tens of thousands of small-scale disasters that occur every day in communities nationwide, and the volunteers who respond to them. These efforts include supporting our military and their families, collecting and distributing blood, helping the needy, delivering health and safety education, and providing aid abroad.”

–President Barack Obama, 2009 Proclamation