A "Holiday Mail for Heroes" Ride

A “Holiday Mail for Heroes” Ride

On this lunchtime bike ride I rode by the National Headquarters for the American Red Cross. Although I have ridden to their building before, I did so again on this ride so that I could write this blog post to give recognition to the organization’s sponsorship of the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program.

I have recently started seeing a number of Facebook posts encouraging people to send Christmas cards addressed to “A Recovering American Soldier” or “Any Wounded Soldier” to Walter Reed Hospital.  However, you should know that these cards will not reach their intended recipients.  The former Walter Reed Army Medical Center closed and merged with the National Naval Medical Center to form the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Maryland. And in keeping with a decision by the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Transportation Policy, which was made to ensure the safety and well being of patients and staff at medical centers throughout the Department of Defense, the WRNMMC will not be accepting cards or packages for soldiers during the holidays.

Additionally, the U.S. Postal Service is no longer accepting “Any Service Member” or “Any Wounded Service Member” letters or packages. Mail to “Any Service Member” that is deposited into a mail collection box will not be delivered.

If you would like to send a Christmas card or holiday letter to a service member, sending it through the Red Cross-sponsored “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program would be a good and reliable choice. However, beginning this year the program will be taking on a different look. Red Cross chapters across the United States and Red Cross offices on military installations overseas will take complete control of the program. There will no longer be a national Holiday Mail for Heroes P.O. Box to which cards can be sent.

Moving forward, local Red Cross offices will collect, sort, and distribute the holiday cards using an events-based approach in their local communities.  Local Red Cross offices will hold events to sign or make holiday cards, and schedule card-sorting times. They will then coordinate card delivery to the military, vets and families in their communities.  These changes will allow local Red Cross offices to better concentrate on reaching out to the members of the military, veterans and families in their community – neighbors helping neighbors.

So contact your local Red Cross chapter directly to find out if they are participating.  If they are, consider doing the same thing.  However, if your local chapter does not have any events, you can still help by making a donation that will help them continue helping service members and veterans separated from their families this holiday season due to deployments and hospital stays.

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