While military deployments and hospital stays may keep many of our nation's heroes away from their families this holiday season, the American Red Cross is collecting and distributing cards that send words of encouragement, gratitude and cheer.
Between now and December 7, Americans can give something that means something by sending a card of thanks and support to members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.
"It just takes a moment to sign a card to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the military community make," said Fran Edwardson, CEO of the American Red Cross Greater Chicago Region. "You say thanks, we'll do the rest."
The Red Cross is inviting the public to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer until December 7 by mailing them to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
Pitney Bowes Inc. receives cards at the special Holiday Mail post office box, and screens them for hazardous materials. Pitney Bowes screens, packages and ships the cards at no charge, and contributes thousands of volunteer hours at sites around the country.
Red Cross volunteers across the United States and on military installations overseas then sort and deliver the cards throughout the holiday season. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have received and distributed more than 4.7 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families since the program began in 2006.
To ensure that cards are delivered in time for the holidays, they must be postmarked no later than December 7. Individuals are asked to refrain from sending "care packages," monetary donations, or using glitter or any other kinds of inserts with the cards. More information and card requirements are at redcross.org/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, 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.