For military troops and their families, the holidays can be a lonely time. The American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes, Inc. have teamed up to send holiday cards with a message of thanks and cheer to a special post office box.
The two agencies will screen cards for hazardous materials, sort and package the cards and deliver them to military bases, veteran's hospitals and military hospitals during the holidays.
The public is invited to send cards between Nov. 11 and Dec. 10 to Holiday Mail for Heroes at P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456.
Last year more than 600,000 cards for wounded service men and women were sent. With the expansion of the program the Red Cross and Pitney Bowes hope to collect more than one million cards and holiday greetings.
"Holiday Mail for Heroes continues the Red Cross tradition of service to the armed forces," said local Red Cross Board President Ginger Scott. "I hope every person in Putnam County will send a card."
Each year the Wabash Valley Red Cross Chapter helps keep local military families separated by deployment connected when family emergencies such as a death or birth in the family, sudden illness, accident or financial crisis occurs.
Last year the chapter sent emergency messages for 188 local military families and participated in National Guard pre-deployment briefings reaching out to 461 family members with important information about accessing Red Cross military services during deployment.
"Pitney Bowes is proud to be working with the American Red Cross again to help Americans extend their well wishes and gratitude to the heroes who serve and protect our country," said John Love, President of Pitney Bowes Government Solutions.
"Last year's program was a huge success and we look forward to working with the public to reach even more wounded service members and their families this holiday season to show appreciation and support."
Scott reminds people to be sure to affix adequate postage. Cards must be received no later than Dec. 10. After this date, cards will be returned to senders.
To help speed the process and delivery of the cards before the holidays, mailers are encouraged to refrain from sending "care packages, monetary gifts, using glitter or including any other inserts.
A full list of recommended guidelines and best practices can be accessed at www.redcross.org/holidaymail.
The Wabash Valley Chapter of the Red Cross is the local affiliate of the American Red Cross that delivers services, recruits and trains volunteers and raises funds to support these activities throughout Clay, Greene, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo Counties in Indiana and in Edgar County, Illinois. For information about the Wabash Valley Chapter visit www.wabashvalleyredcross.org