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Deadline approaches for Mail for Heroes

The holiday season is just around the corner, and it’s time again to start thinking about being part of the 2011 American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes. For a fifth year, American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes are partnering to ensure all Americans have an opportunity to send a touch of home this holiday season to members of our U.S. military, veterans and their families, many of whom will be far away from home this holiday season.

Throughout the holiday season, the Red Cross is working with Pitney Bowes, a mail stream technology company, to collect and distribute holiday cards to American service members, veterans and their families in the United States and around the world.

The process is very simple and takes no time at all. All you need is a pen and piece of paper to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the U.S. Armed Forces make to protect our freedoms.

Do not send them to Walter Reed Hospital nor any military medical facility. They do not want them, and the postal service will return them. This decision was made by the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Transportation Policy in 2001. The decision was made to ensure the safety and well being of patients and staff at medical centers throughout the Department of Defense.

The Holiday Mail for Heroes mailbox is open and ready to receive your cards. Send all mail to: Holiday Mail For Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456.

Sending a touch of home to American men and women who serve our country is the perfect way to express your appreciation and support during the holiday season. Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country. Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

• All cards being sent in for 2011 Holiday Mail For Heroes program should be postmarked no later than Friday, Dec. 9, 2011.

• Ensure that all cards are signed.

• Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program.

• Only cards are being accepted. Do not send letters.

• Do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.

• Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process.

Participants are encouraged to mail as many cards as they are comfortable sending. If you are mailing a large quantity, bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes or use a flat rate box from the post office. Each card does not need its own envelope, as cards will be removed from all envelopes before distribution. Refrain from sending holiday cards with glitter. Many of these cards will be delivered to military and veterans medical facilities and the glitter could interfere with a patient’s recovery.

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