The metropolitan Atlanta chapter of the American Red Cross, along with Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal, kicked off the seventh annual Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign last week at its office in Midtown. With help from the public, the Red Cross has distributed more than 6.5 million cards through the campaign.
“The cards don’t have to be expensive. They just need to come from your heart,” Deal said. “Let them know that you really care and you really appreciate their sacrifices.”
Kevin Keough, board chairman for the Red Cross’ Atlanta chapter, said kicking off the campaign the day after Veterans Day was fitting.
“[The cards] will be shipped to Red Cross locations around the world, including some right here in Georgia because we obviously have military installations here,” he said. “At that point, volunteers will help to sort and deliver them to the local service members, veterans and their families. It is certainly our hope that every individual receives at least one card.”
The campaign’s kickoff was also celebrated by Brig. Gen. Joe Jarrard with the Georgia Department of Defense, Atlanta Falcons players and members of Tiffany Circle, a society of philanthropic female leaders who support the American Red Cross.
Jarrard, assistant adjutant general for the state’s department of defense, said there are just less than 1,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen from Georgia that are currently in Afghanistan supporting the war on terror.
“These cards make a difference,” he said. “Not every service man and woman has a great family support group back at home and even those that do enjoy getting these cards.
“They are very thankful to have those cards and to feel a little bit of home while they’re in such a faraway place fighting the war.”
Mary Lou Heastings, co-chair of the Tiffany Circle in Georgia, said, “This year ... we want Georgia to be the state that leads the nation in the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign with the most cards.”
Holiday cards can be store-bought or homemade but should not include glitter or items like letters, photos or gift cards, which will not make it through the screening and sorting process. Cards should be addressed “Dear Service Member, Veteran or Military Family” so it can be shared with anyone in the military community.
Want to help?:
Mail holiday cards for the troops and veterans to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, Md. 20791-5456 by no later than Dec. 6. For more information, visit, www.redcross.org/holidaymail.