The American Red Cross kicked off the Holiday Mail for Heroes program with a card-signing event and concert today, encouraging Americans to support military members, veterans and their families this holiday season.
Proudly sponsored by Pitney Bowes Inc., the Holiday Mail for Heroes program allows Americans the opportunity to send holiday greetings to our men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, our nation’s veterans and their families. The public can send a “touch of home” through holiday cards that contain messages of cheer and appreciation through Friday, December 9.
“Of the 2 million service members, tens of thousands of will find themselves away from home during this holiday season, and others are close to home but desperately need an emotional and spiritual boost,” said Gail McGovern, Red Cross president and CEO.
“We are proud of the service members and families we have touched over the years and the many more we will reach this year,” McGovern added, noting that the program has collected more than 3.5 million cards since 2007
"Many of our soldiers are away from home and away from family. It's important they know we support them and are thinking of them, especially during the holiday season," said Kevin Connolly, Vice President of Strategic Transformation, Pitney Bowes. “We are very pleased to be working side by side with the American Red Cross to help deliver these messages to our men and women in uniform."
Today, the Red Cross hosted Washington DC area residents and workers, visitors and media at its Washington headquarters for a day of card signing, refreshments and entertainment in support of holiday card program.
During the 10 a.m. press conference, McGovern and Connolly were joined by Colonel Gregory S. Zehner, United States Air Force chief, future concepts division; and Justin Constantine, Department of Justice associate general counsel, who spoke of the importance of the program and of how much the cards mean to those serving the country..
Michael W. Smith, contemporary music artist, Red Cross celebrity cabinet member and program spokesperson, sent well wishes from his home in Nashville.
“It's an honor to be a part of the Holiday Mail for Heroes program,” Smith said. “The brave men and women who serve our country deserve of our utmost gratitude and heartfelt sentiments, especially during the holiday season when they are far from home.”
This year for the first time, Simon Property Group will be offering additional collection sites at its malls throughout the country. Many of the malls will also be hosting card signing events at their Kidgits clubs. For a full list of participating malls, visit the Holiday Mail for Heroes homepage at redcross.org/holidaymail.
After the public signs and sends the cards, Pitney Bowes receives them at the special Holiday Mail post office box and screens all items for hazardous materials. Red Cross volunteers across the United States then sort and deliver the cards throughout the holiday season. Pitney Bowes screens, packages and ships the cards at no charge, and contributes thousands of volunteer hours at sites nationwide.
Pitney Bowes has also created an online card making feature that allows Americans to send a card with a personal message of thanks and holiday cheer to a service member for $1. The new website, www.mailforheroes.com, offers four holiday card designs that will remain accessible until December 9. The cards will be sent directly to the Holiday Mail for Heroes P.O. Box in Maryland for distribution.
For reasons of processing and safety, participants are asked to refrain from sending “care packages,” monetary gifts, items with glitter or card inserts. For more information and card requirements, please visit redcross.org/holidaymail. Cards can be mailed to the following address by the December 9 deadline:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456