Holiday Mail Brings Smiles to Men and Women Serving in our Military

cards made by childrenEven in the age of email, Facebook and Twitter, there’s still nothing like receiving a card or letter sent from home; it’s a major morale boost for the men and the women in the U.S. Armed Forces. Cards have a special way of transporting warriors from their military duties home to loved ones. That’s why the American Red Cross is encouraging Americans to send thanks and holidays greetings as part of its Holiday Mail for Heroescampaign.For a fifth year, the Red Cross, with the help of Pitney Bowes, is collecting, screening and distributing holiday cards for members of our U.S. military, veterans and their families, many of whom will be far away from home this holiday season. To participate, send your cards postmarked no later than December 9 to: 

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Holiday Mail for Heroes is a natural extension of the Red Cross’ 130-year tradition of serving those in the military.Through its Service to the Armed Forces division, the Red Cross provides military and veteran health care facilities, emergency communications and social services to the more than 2 million military members, National Guard and Reservists and 23 million veterans and their families.

Through a network of chapters and stations at home and around the world, the Red Cross works on behalf of the American public to ensure that our military personnel get help whenever and wherever they need it—whether it is a crisis back home, an injury in the line of duty or the transition into civilian life after serving. The Red Cross also gives service members the comfort of knowing someone is there for their families, allowing our heroes to stay focused on their mission.

Deployments can place a tremendous strain on service members and their families, so the Red Cross connects loved ones with a robust information and referral network of social service options, including a number of educational programs that help military families deal with everyday stressors as they deal with their loved one’s deployment.soldier hugs daughter

Returning service members and their families can take part in Reconnection Workshops, Presented by Walmart. These individual and small group discussions focus on several topics including communication and dealing with trauma. The workshops aim to help service members transition back into their life at home.

The Red Cross ensures that service members and their families stay in touch with each other, especially during a crisis through our Emergency Communication Network, which includes a 24/7 global emergency communication service at military installations worldwide. That toll-free line is (877) 272-7337. In addition to helping families and loved ones reach service members in times of crises, the Red Cross also staffs and operates on-base internet cafes and lounges in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Djibouti, where troops can relax and connect with home.

Red Cross staff and volunteers serve in military hospitals and clinics around the world and in VA medical facilities across the nation. Red Cross Service to Armed Forces volunteers work in libraries, bringing magazines, books and comfort items to patients. They also provide companionship and personal services; manage volunteer programs; and participate in outreach opportunities through community-based outpatient clinics, nursing homes and home visitations.
 
To learn more about the Services to the Armed Forces the Red Cross provides, click here.
 
About the author: Peter Macias is an Air Force veteran and  the communications director for service to the Armed Forces at the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, DC. The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization.

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