Rosalyn Hall, of the local American Red Cross, looks on as Patricia Harmon instructs children at Head Start on how to make these American flag cards for our servicemen. Clockwise from bottom left are, Jersea Huerta, Harmon, Hall, Sabastian Cervantes, and Fernando Martinez-Pina. The cards were made by putting paint on the children’s hands, and then letting them press the image onto blank cards. A printed card was also inserted with each greeting card that reads, “The flag is my hand as you can see, For all that you do so we can be free!”
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 Dec. 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 Sami Clack, Regional Coordinator for Services to the Armed Forces. “You say thanks, we’ll do the rest.”
A card making and signing event was held Thursday at Head Start in Altus, as well as the Red Cross office.
If you missed yesterday’s event, but would still like to send our servicemen cards, the Red Cross is inviting the public to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer by mailing them by Dec. 7 to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
Pitney Bowes Inc. is receiving the cards at the special Holiday Mail post office box, and will be screening 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.
This is an important program in Oklahoma as the Sooner State is home to several military bases including Altus, Tinker, Vance, Fort Sill and the Coast Guard Institute in central and western Oklahoma. There are also a number of National Guard stations throughout the state. This means the state has a high number of active service members and veterans.
The Red Cross encourages all Oklahomans to take a few minutes to send a card this holiday season to our heroes.
In celebration of the program this year, the Central and Western Oklahoma Region of the Red Cross will be holding card making events through the region. Here is a short list of upcoming events:
- Friday Oct 5 at Oklahoma City Office 601 NE 6th, OKC 9:30a.m. – Noon (Open to Public)
- Thursday Oct 11 at the Altus Office 905 N Willard 10:00 - 2:00 (Open to Public)
- Head Start Children will be signing their cards 9:00-10:30 at Wilson Head Start, Altus (also at 905 N Willard) Oct 11.
We are also recruiting volunteers to help distribute cards to military members and veterans in the community around the holidays. For more information on card signing events or volunteering, please call 405-228-9500.
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 public can connect with fellow card senders through Facebook at facebook.com/redcross and Twitter.com/redcross using the hashtag #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.