How to Send Holiday Cards to Military Servicemembers
UPDATE (12/10/14): The Holiday Mail for Heroes program has changed since this post was originally written in 2012. To find out more on the NEW program, click HERE.
Quite like those meaningless Facebook copyright protection statuses, many have popped up claiming an address where you can send holiday mail to wounded soldiers.
Unfortunately, it’s not going to wind up in the right hands.
Myth debunking site Snopes says ‘Christmas cards addressed to ‘A recovering American soldier’ or ‘Any wounded soldier’ sent to Walter Reed Hospital will not reach their intended recipients.’
There are various reasons for this, the most likely of which is security concerns.
However, you CAN still send holiday mail to soldiers. The Red Cross has a program called Holiday Mail for Heroes.
The deadline is Friday, December 7th, so if you plan to do this, I’d send the cards out by Tuesday at the latest!
There are a few guidelines to follow to ensure that a soldier actually gets your card:
- Ensure that all cards are signed.
- Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
- Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
- Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
- Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
- Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
- If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.
(A holiday card with no glitter? Boo! Hiss!)
In all seriousness though, there are a LOT of servicemembers who could use some good wishes at this time of year, so if you’ve followed all those nifty little rules, send them along to the Red Cross at this address:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456