Volunteers of the St. Clair Chapter of American Red Cross joined efforts to spread Christmas cheer to the military and their families on Dec. 8 at a Holiday Mail for Heroes card sorting party.

Holiday Mail for Heroes empowers Americans to share a touch of home with service men and women while thanking them for their sacrifice.

People from across the country sent cards to a special PO Box operated by Pitney Bowes to be properly screened to ensure the security of service members.  Then they were packaged and sent to the local Red Cross offices that signed up to participate.  They received 1,580 cards.

Cards were distributed across Alabama and organized by America’s Veterans Otto Fox, John Carter and others.

Red Cross volunteers along with M.A.P.S (Military Assistance Personal Support) Community Partners and Veterans came together to sort cards.  Volunteers ranged in age from 12 up.  

“The newly formed MAPS group, led by Greg Jacobik, jumping in to help this project made it easy, fun and complemented our Red Cross volunteers,” Executive Director Peggy Mann said.  “It is amazing what the community can accomplish when we join together.”   

The Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces programs have supported the military and their families for more than a century, from the Civil War in the 1860s to today’s deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The Red Cross works to make sure service members and their families stay in touch with each other, especially during a crisis.  In the early days of the Red Cross, volunteers would help wounded soldiers write letters home.  In the current age of cell phones and email, the Red Cross Emergency Communication Network is vital to service members, their families and commanders in the field.  

“I am so appreciative of all the volunteers who came out to help us sort cards and distribute them,” Mann said.  Anyone who has an outlet for sending cards out to service men and women and their families may contact the St. Clair Chapter of the American Red Cross, and they will help with providing cards for the project.

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