Once a year, the Red Cross provides Americans with an opportunity to send holiday cards to United States service members, veterans, and their families. Anyone is welcome to participate, and I know from experience that this campaign is a perfect way for adults and children alike to learn more about the American Red Cross and to support our country’s service members during the holiday season.
Last week my children’s teachers graciously allowed me into their classrooms to speak to their students about the American Red Cross and the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. As I’ve done in years past, I began by asking the children – a group of 18 first graders followed by a group of 12 preschoolers – if they recognized the picture on the front of my Red Cross shirt. The slightly confused but enthusiastic preschoolers answered my question with an assortment of exclamations: “Hospital!”, “Cross!”, “Tree!”, and my favorite, “Red is my favorite color!”. But many of the first graders already knew the symbol as that of the American Red Cross.
Next we talked about what the American Red Cross does and how the American Red Cross helps people, and as is always the case, the children’s responses to my questions were sweet and funny and bizarre and ranged from 100% correct to minutes-long stories about “that time my mom burned the cookies and the smoke alarm went off”.
Once I felt the children understood why and for whom they would be making these cards, I set them free to create.
Though the preschoolers spent the majority of their time covering every square inch of their cards with stickers, many thought to ask for help writing “happy holidays” or “thank you” and signing their names. The first graders, on the other hand, spent nearly an hour drawing elaborate holiday and patriotic pictures and writing lengthy messages of thanks.
There’s still time for you, your friends, your kids, and/or your kids’ classes to participate in the 2013 Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign. Here’s what you need to know when creating your holiday cards:
- Use generic salutations, such as “Service Member”, as cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program.
- Only cards are accepted. Do not send or include letters or photos.
- Do not use glitter on cards, as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
- Ensure that all cards are signed (first names are fine), but do not include email addresses or home addresses on the cards.
Now simply create your cards, place them in an envelope or box (no individual envelopes are needed – just place all of your cards in one large envelope or mailing box), and send them to the address below. All packages must be postmarked no later than December 6th.
Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456