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Send a Holiday Card to a Service Member

GREENWICH, Conn. – If you’re looking for a way to honor past and present service members on more than just Veterans Day, make them a holiday card. You can send it through the American Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes program in Greenwich.

“When you think of it, is one day really enough to thank those who selflessly have risen to the defense of our nation?” said Dianne Auger, interim CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York, which is headquartered in Greenwich.

Holiday Mail for Heroes is now in its fifth year, thanks to the support of the postage company Pitney Bowes. Cards can be sent from now until Dec. 9. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will deliver them to military bases and hospitals, veteran’s hospitals and other locations.

“They’re away from home for so long. They’re missing home, and it’s the holiday season when they’re used to being with their families,” said Allison Calvert of the Red Cross in Greenwich. “Even getting a card from a perfect stranger and seeing that they’re thought of on an everyday basis really means the world to them.”

The Red Cross will sponsor free card-making events at the following locations:

? My Favorite Place, 20 Greenwich Ave., Sunday, Nov. 20, 4 to 6 p.m.

? Galleria at White Plains, Saturday, Nov. 12, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

? Westchester Mall in White Plains, Saturday, Nov. 19, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

? Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown Heights on Dec. 3, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

You can also cards at home and send them to:

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

Cards must be postmarked no later than Dec. 9. Cards received after this date will be returned to senders.  For reasons of processing and safety, participants are asked to refrain from sending “care packages” and monetary gifts, using glitter and including inserts with the cards.  Visit the Red Cross online

for a full list of recommended guidelines and best practices for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

“We usually get little notes back just saying thank you so much, it meant a lot to me,” said Calvert. “Any feedback we’ve gotten has been positive and appreciated.”

Another way to show appreciation for America's military men and women is by making a gift through the Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog. One of the items is a comfort kit to ease the suffering of wounded warriors. The catalog can be found online at www.redcross.org/gifts .

"For a wounded or injured service member, the journey from the battlefield to the hospital can be long and uncomfortable, and many make the journey without any personal items," said Auger. "You can make sure they are warmly welcomed at a military hospital with most-needed items such as a phone card, robe, shower shoes, toiletries and MP3 music gift card."

Other gift items include phone cards so that deployed troops can call home and hygiene kits for homeless veterans.

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