Red Cross collecting holiday cards for those in the military

Here’s something easy but meaningful you can do for for those serving in the military who are away from their families this holiday season.

The American Red Cross is collecting and distributing cards that send words of encouragement, gratitude and cheer through its Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

Fran O’Shaughnessy, interim CEO for the Dayton Area Chapter of the Red Cross, says all you need to do is write the notes or cards and others will do the rest.

The folks at Pitney Bowes Inc. contribute thousands of volunteer hours at sites around the country for this project. They receive your mail at a special Holiday Mail post office box, screen it for hazardous materials, then package and ship the cards at no charge.

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.

The project kicked off this week and will be in effect through Dec. 7.

Here’s all you have to do:

Write a note or card, and send to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes

P.O. Box 5456

Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

To ensure that cards are delivered in time for the holidays, they must be postmarked no later than Dec. 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.

In celebration of the program this year, the Greater Cincinnati-Dayton Region will be holding card-making events throughout the month of November. Check with your local chapter for details.

The chapter is also recruiting volunteers to help distribute cards to military members and veterans in the community around the holidays.

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.

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