Annual Program Helps Cheer Men and Women Serving in the Military
By: Jessica Tischler, Service to the Armed Forces Manager
We have begun collecting cards for our annual program – Holidays for Heroes. As with last year, we are looking for more generalized cards that can be used throughout the year. These cards will be delivered to service members, veterans and their families in Northeast Ohio.
We are asking that you provide a couple of cards with thoughtful, heartfelt messages instead of large numbers with only a signature.
This year, we are partnering with the Troop and Family Assistance Center to collect items that are needed by service members in Northeast Ohio. A donation of these small items with a note of appreciate will be welcomed by those serving us here in Northeast Ohio.
- Toilet paper
- Dish soap
- Baby wipes
- Paper towels
- Feminine hygiene products
- Hand sanitizer
- Shaving cream and razors
- Canned meat
- Canned fruit
- Breakfast foods
- Drink Mix
Each of the five chapters in Northeast Ohio are collecting the items and cards for local distribution to service members, their families, and veterans through military units, area VA service locations, VFWs, and other military organizations. Through this program, cards may be delivered individually, included in care packages or displayed at common venues in military installations and hospitals.
A few rules:
- The Red Cross does not provide cards to sign. Instead, please feel free to make cards or use any favorites that you have on hand.
- In order to make cards as meaningful as possible for a wide audience, we recommend that you use generic titles such as “Dear Service Member,/Veteran/ Military Family Member” when writing the cards.
- Please, no personal information such as addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses
- Cards should not contain glitter because some cards may end up at the bedside of a wounded service member and the glitter could aggravate existing health issues.
- Please do not seal in individual envelopes. It is easier for our volunteers to screen and sort the cards if they aren’t individually sealed in envelopes.
- Individual cards can be dropped off or mailed to the Red Cross chapters in a large envelope or mailing box.
- We ask that people not enclose any items with the holiday cards. Any items enclosed with the holiday cards will be removed, including photos and other gifts. If you wish to provide financial support for Red Cross services to the military, please donate online.
- Chapters cannot accept cards after November 30– we still need time for our volunteers to sort and deliver!
You can mail cards, or drop cards and items off (between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.) to the following locations:
Greater Cleveland Chapter
3747 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter
244 West South Street
Wooster, OH 44691
2929 West River Rd. N.
Elyria, OH 44035
39 N. Park Street
Mansfield, OH 44902
Lake to River Chapter
3530 Belmont Avenue
Youngstown, OH 44505
Stark County & Muskingum Lakes Chapter
408 9th Street, SW
Canton, OH 44707
Muskingum Lakes Office
734 Fair Ave NW
New Philadelphia, OH 44663
Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter
501 West Market Street
Akron, OH 44303
How can you get involved in the Holiday Mail program beyond mailing a card?
Word of Mouth: Host a card signing party as part of your Thanksgiving Celebration!
Social Media: Connect with fellow card senders through social media channels and help us get the word out through Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtag #holidaymail.
Help Sort and Deliver Cards: If you are interested in helping sort and deliver cards, please contact Jessica Tischler at 216-426-7525 to see how you can help.
Great idea, Jessica. I scheduled a dozen social media posts to get the word out. Hope it helps.