Red Cross gathers cards for troops

Published 9:19 pm Friday, November 13, 2009

The American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes Inc. are teaming up again to deliver holiday cards to service members, their families and veterans, many of whom will be far from home this holiday season.

Now in its third year, the Holiday Mail for Heroes program provides Americans with the opportunity to extend holiday greetings and thanks to service members and veterans.

Between Nov. 2 and Dec. 7, the public is invited to send a “touch of home” through holiday cards that contain messages of cheer and appreciation.

The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will then screen cards for hazardous materials, sort and package the cards, and deliver them to military bases and hospitals, veterans’ hospitals and other locations during the holidays.

Pitney Bowes will provide all screening, packaging and shipping at no charge. The Red Cross will utilize hundreds of volunteers to sort and box cards for delivery to service men and women, veterans and family members in November and December.

“It’s an honor for our community to help make the holidays special for American heroes,” said Faye Byrum, executive director of the Red Cross’ Suffolk Chapter.

“The American Red Cross serves and supports members of the military, veterans, and their families by providing emergency communications, comfort and assistance each day. The Holiday Mail for Heroes program continues the Red Cross tradition of service to the armed forces.”

Last year, with the help of Pitney Bowes, hundreds of volunteers screened, sorted and packaged cards that were delivered to military bases, veteran and military hospitals across the U.S. and around the world.

This year, the Suffolk Chapter will be sorting cards on Dec. 16. To volunteer for this special project, contact the chapter directly at 539-6645 for details.

“The men and women who serve our country in uniform deserve our thanks every single day, and sending just one card is all it takes to make a difference in the life of one of our nation’s heroes,” said Jon Love, President of Pitney Bowes Government Solutions. “We are honored to participate in this important initiative again with the American Red Cross and look forward to helping the public say happy holidays and thank you.”

Holiday cards should be addressed and sent to: Holiday Mail for Heroes; P.O. Box 5456; Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456. Be sure to affix adequate postage.

Cards must be received no later than Dec. 7. Cards received after this date will be returned to senders. For reasons of processing and safety, participants are asked to refrain from sending “care packages,” monetary gifts, using glitter or including any inserts with the cards.

Visit www.redcross.org/holidaymail for a full list of recommended guidelines and best practices on the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

Visit www.suffolkredcross.org to learn more about the Suffolk Chapter’s Service to the Armed Forces.