>Share Gratitude with Service Members This Thanksgiving

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During this week of Thanksgiving, the Darke County Chapter of the American Red Cross encourages families to take some time to share their gratitude in messages to veterans and active-duty members of the Armed Forces. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes Inc. are leading an effort to collect and send 1 million holiday cards to service members overseas and at home through the fourth annual Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign (www.redcross.org/holidaymail). Whether printed or handmade, the cards carry meaning for the recipients and the senders.

“I love this program,” said singer Amy Grant, a member of the Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet and spokesperson for Holiday Mail for Heroes. “I think it’s the most accessible, hands-on way to express gratitude for anyone in the military.”

The public can print cards designed by Grant and three other members of the Celebrity Cabinet from the Red Cross website. Grant used colored pencils and black markers to design her card for the Holiday Mail program; actress Jane Seymour used watercolor with pen and ink on paper for hers.

“I’ve heard so many testimonials from people who have been overseas that letters mean the most,” said Grant, who added handwritten notes to service members on the cards she designed. “Letters are magical….It’s a great time of year to think about someone else and express thankfulness.”

In Darke County, Commercial Printing and Craig Schmidt, photographer, stepped up to the challenge by creating a local card, featuring a Hometown Parade photo and donated 1,100 cards for local community members to sign. Over five-hundred cards were signed November 20th the night of the parade as local Red Cross volunteers and K-club members, youth group of the Greenville Kiwanis, walked through downtown asking people to sign the card. Additionally, the Chapter is sponsoring a Save the Day Open House on December 4th from 9:00-5:00 for those who would like to drop by at 130 Martz Street and sign a card. Donors are still being sought to sponsor the cost of shipping the cards.

“More today than any other time as I talk to members of our community, I discover their personal connection to the Armed Forces,” stated Lynne Gump, Executive Director, “this is such a simple way to reach out and share the holiday spirit.”

The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will accept holiday cards until December 10, 2010 at Holiday Mail for Heroes, PO Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD, 20791-5456. Pitney Bowes will screen the cards for hazardous materials, then package and ship them in time for delivery during the holidays.

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