Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Mail for Heroes

It’s possible you’ve already heard about – or even participated in – the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign, but if you haven’t, I encourage you to read on. En route to providing you with the information you’ll need to participate, should you feel so inclined, I’d like to share with you my 2012 Holiday Mail for Heroes experience.

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 (last year I organized a Holiday Mail for Heroes activity for Will’s preschool class), 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.

Back in October I approached Will’s kindergarten teacher about the campaign, and she was as enthusiastic as I’d hoped she’d be about bringing the Red Cross into the classroom. I set to work gathering materials and preparing to speak to 22 five- and six-year-olds about the mission and work of the organization.

As I’ve done in previous years, I began by asking the kids “Have any of you heard of the American Red Cross?”, “What does the American Red Cross do?”, and “How does the American Red Cross help people?” Their answers were – as expected – sweet and funny and bizarre, and ranged from 100% correct statements to minutes-long stories about pet dogs and gingerbread cookies.

Once I felt the kids understood why and for whom they would be making these cards, I set them free to create.

I was so proud of these kindergarteners. They put a great deal of time and effort into their cards, drawing pictures and using stickers to create elaborate holiday and winter scenes, and working hard to write meaningful messages and sign their names.

I love the HMFH Campaign because of what it represents and because it means a great deal to the active duty service members, veterans, and families it reaches. But I also love the HMFH Campaign because it provides everyone – including children – with an opportunity to make a difference.

There’s still time for you, your friends, your kids, and/or your kids’ classes to participate in the 2012 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. Please do not send or include letters or photos.
  • Please 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 or home addresses on the cards.

Now just 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 7th.

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Happy creating!

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