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Red Cross gathering cards for military heroes

POSTED: November 16, 2013 11:45 p.m.

For military personnel defending the nation here and abroad, being away from family and friends during the holiday season can be a difficult burden.

The American Red Cross is working to help make sure troops and veterans alike aren’t forgotten by those back home this holiday season.

The Northeast Georgia Red Cross chapter, along with the Red Cross nationwide, have launched their “Holiday Mail For Heroes” Mailbox event that runs through Dec. 6.

The mailbox gives the local community an opportunity to thank current troops, veterans and their families by making personalized Christmas cards.

The mailbox is open to anyone who wants to participate. The only cost is postage for delivery.

“It’s a great way for the community, groups or individuals to partner with the Red Cross to distribute these meaningful cards,” said Joni Smith, executive director of the Northeast Georgia Red Cross chapter. “It’s a great way for people to show their appreciation (of the military).

“It’s so nice when you get a personal card that someone took the time to write ... It is special. It’s not that anyone has to give their money, it’s just their time, a few seconds to really make an impact.

“You can have such a positive impact on a military person that your card could be something that they needed.”

The cards are sent to Capitol Heights, Md., where they will be inspected. Afterward, they will be distributed to troops abroad and at home, at hospitals, and to veterans at nursing homes, Smith said.

Smith said cards will be taken as long as they are postmarked by Dec. 6. They can be dropped off at the Red Cross office in Gainesville to be mailed.

Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Flowery Branch is one of the local churches participating in the mailbox. Jeff Stampfli, director of operations for the church, said an estimated 200 cards have already been made by members’ kids ages 6 to 10.

“We always look at things to do for those who have served our country,” he said. “It’s good in knowing that when the troops get the cards that people care about them, and it sends a message to the kids that we care about the troops who are defending us.”

Clay Pilgrim of local business Rushton & Company said the company has contacted the Red Cross and plan to make cards for the troops.

“This is definitely a good thing to do for veterans and current service members,” Pilgrim said. “It’s the least we can do for those serving us.

“Some of them don’t get to spend Christmas with their families. All their time (in service) is for us. The least we can do is thank them. It’s a worthwhile event.”

Smith also said if anyone hold a card signing event, let the NGRC chapter know so they can share photos and use social media to make the community aware.

“We have a Facebook page and Twitter account for our chapter,” she said. “It (social media) is another way to show what others are doing (with their cards).”

According to the Red Cross’ website, those who use Instagram, Twitter or Vine can tag photos and videos of themselves making and signing cards by using the hashtag “HolidayMail.”


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