Someone sent me the email that goes around every year about sending cards to recovering soldiers. I had heard that Walter Reed could not accept cards or packages in the past, so this year I decided to investigate a bit. The following is what I found posted on the American Red Cross Website. Follow the simple guidelines and you can cheer a few service members during their holidays at the hospital.
From the American Red Cross website:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
From the front lines to the home front, the American Red Cross provides service members, their families and veterans with the care and assistance they need.
The Red Cross is partnering with Pitney Bowes this holiday season for the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. For the second year in a row, we’re collecting holiday cards to distribute to American service members, veterans and their families in the United States and around the world. Pitney Bowes is generously donating technology, resources and postage to make this holiday card program possible.
Our goal is to collect and distribute one million holiday cards to spread holiday cheer and facilitate thanks to these brave individuals and families.
Please send cards to this address, following the guidelines listed below:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
You can also:
- Download and print a free card.
- Learn about other ways to participate.
- Get the latest news about Holiday Mail for Heroes.
- Watch a video from Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet Members, Dr. Phil and Nancy O'Dell.
Card GuidelinesPlease follow these guidelines when mailing a card to ensure that your card will quickly reach service members, veterans and their families. Every card received will first be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working in one of 16 sorting stations around the country.
- All cards must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, December 10, 2008. Cards sent after this date will be returned to sender.
- Participants are encouraged to limit the number of cards they submit to 25 from any one person or 50 from any one class or group. If you are mailing a larger quantity, please bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes. Each card does not need its own envelope or postage.
- Please ensure that all cards are signed.
- Please use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
- Please send cards as opposed to long letters which delay a quick review process.
- Please do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
- Please do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
- All cards received may be used in program publicity efforts, including appearing in broadcast, print or online mediums.
Where to Send Phone Cards, Gift Cards and Care Packages:
Phone cards or gift cards will not be accepted with the holiday cards. Those wishing to send calling cards or gift cards/certificates should go to http://www.aafes.com/, scroll down to "AAFES Community Connection" and click on "Help Our Troops Call Home" or "Gift Cards/Certificates for Our Troops" in order to send such items.
No 'Care Packages' will be accepted at this address. Those wishing to send care packages should go to http://www.americasupportsyou.com/ and click under "Homefront Groups" to find out how to send care packages.