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|Red Cross kicks off 'Holiday Mail for Heroes'|
The American Red Cross hopes to spread some holiday cheer to current members of the military, veterans and their families through its second annual "Holiday Mail for Heroes."
LaVonne LeBlanc, director of the northeast Louisiana chapter of the American Red Cross, said the program kicked off Tuesday, Nov. 11, and so far, the chapter has gotten a good response.
Local schools, churches and organizations have all called to participate.
Last year, the American Red Cross sent out roughly 600,000 Christmas cards to service men and women.
This year, the organization hopes to send out more than one million cards. The group wanted to include veterans and military families in the program this year.
"Last year, the effort was geared more to the wounded, but this year we've expanded it to include all service members, veterans and their families," LeBlanc said.
The American Red Cross asks that participants sign their cards with their name and include a simple message.
"We don't want to have long letters that would slow down the review process," LeBlanc said. "We're trying to make it as simple as possible so people can just sign a card and write a short message of thanks and wish them a happy holiday season. We just want to let them know how much we appreciate them and the sacrifices they make for us every day. We're so glad the program has been extended to include their families this year because they also sacrifice so much. We think this is an easy way to say thanks and let them know what they mean to us."
All cards must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, Dec. 10. Following a screening process, the cards will be mailed by Pitney Bowes, a national mailing service.
Cards should be sent to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD, 20791-5456.
The group asks that cards do not have any inserts, no glitter, and no e-mail addresses or home addresses on the inside of the cards.
The Red Cross also asked that participants limit the number of cards to 25 from any one person and 50 from any one class or group.
For more information, call the NELA chapter of the American Red Cross at 323-5141, or visit its web site at www.nelaredcross.org.