Even though temperatures outside were heading into the 90s, the holiday spirit was flowing on Capitol Hill as Members of Congress signed cards for the troops as part of the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program.
Now in its fourth year, the Holiday Mail for Heroes program is led by the Red Cross and Pitney Bowes Inc., providing Americans with the opportunity to extend holiday greetings, expressions of gratitude and well wishes to service members, veterans and their families worldwide. More than three million cards have been distributed during the first three years of the campaign.
House members, congressional staffers, Capitol police, maintenance workers and lobbyists all lined up to sign cards and show support for members of the U.S. military. Many had a personal connection to the project with family members presently serving their country.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allert (D) CA signs her “Holiday Mail for Heroes” card.
“To receive notes and letters is inspirational and gives our soldiers the motivation to continue on in very difficult circumstances,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allert (D) CA.
“I appreciate so much what they do for us,” said Rep. Larry Dissel (D) NC. “In ways we can say thank you, we need to say thank you.”
Rep. Zack Wamp (R) TN has two nephews serving in the military. He wants those serving to know that with his signature, all the men and women of his district are behind them. “I can tell you that any word from home is a good word. The connection from home makes a big difference,” he said.
Today’s Capitol Hill card-signing event was held now so members could participate before they recess and return to their districts for the elections. Their cards will be among the first to be sent to military bases overseas. Senate members and their staff will have a chance to sign cards next week.
Holiday Mail for Heroes began in December 2007, when Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. approached the American Red Cross to assist in distributing thousands of holiday cards to hospitalized servicemen and women. In response to this request, the Red Cross partnered with Pitney Bowes to turn the project into a larger opportunity that could reach members of the military at other medical facilities in this country and abroad.
Any member of the general public can send greeting cards to be distributed to members of the United States Armed Forces and veterans during the 2010 holiday season. Cards will be accepted through December 10.
The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes are also encouraging families, schools, youth, civic groups, scouting troops, places of worship, and other groups that are interested in participating in the Holiday Mail for Heroes program to organize and host card-making events. For a list of tips and ideas, please visit: www.redcross.org/holidaymail
Pitney Bowes receives cards and messages 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 around the country.
People are invited to send a message of thanks and holiday cheer from now until December 10 by mailing them to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456.
For reasons of processing and safety, participants are asked to refrain from sending “care packages,” monetary gifts, using glitter or including any inserts with the cards. For more information and card requirements, please visit www.redcross.org/holidaymail
Additional ways to become involved with the campaign include connecting with fellow card senders through Facebook at www.facebook.com/redcross and Twitter at www.twitter.com/redcross using the hashtag #HMFH.
About Pitney Bowes:
Celebrating its 90th year of innovation, Pitney Bowes provides software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Long known for making its customers more productive, Pitney Bowes is increasingly helping other companies grow their business. Pitney Bowes is a $5.6 billion company and employs 33,000 worldwide. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity™. www.pb.com
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.