This holiday season show you care

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2007

By Staff
If you didn’t have a reason enough to support the American Red Cross, here is another one.
If it weren’t for the Red Cross and a sponsoring company, wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center wouldn’t be getting letters from folks like you and I who support them even though we don’t know their names.
In a move that should anger everyone, the Washington-based hospital says it cannot accept packages, letters and holiday cards addressed to “Any Wounded Soldier” or “A Recovering American Soldier.”
In a statement posted on its Web site, the hospital warned that after a deluge of such mail in prior holiday seasons, the U.S. Postal Service is no longer accepting letters or packages that are not addressed to a specific service member.
Such mail “will not be delivered,” the hospital said.
The hospital claims the problem is two fold. It says regulations require a name for mail to be delivered. The other issue is the volume of such mail has become too taxing to handle. Last holiday season, there were nearly a million pieces of mail sent to “Wounded Warriors” at Walter Reed alone, which the hospital said clogged its mail-handling system.
We would argue that if the hospital doesn’t have the resources to handle the mail, then it should find a way. If the American people want to show support, the hospital should be finding ways to make that possible and not throw roadblocks in the way.
That’s where the Red Cross comes in. Through a partnership between the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes Inc., people can mail cards with personal messages of support to wounded service members at military hospitals around the country.
The Red Cross will collect, review and distribute holiday greeting cards to wounded military personnel. For security reasons, only holiday cards can be accepted; not packages. Red Cross volunteers will receive and bundle the cards, which will be shipped by Pitney Bowes Government Solutions. Then, Red Cross volunteers at the medical facilities will distribute the cards throughout the holiday season. When you are mailing off your greeting cards this year, set aside one for a wounded warrior.
To participate, address holiday cards to:
We Support You During Your Recovery!
c/o American Red Cross
P.O. Box 419
Savage, MD 20763-0419
Cards must be received no later than Dec. 27. Cards received after that will be returned to the sender. Also, the Red Cross says please refrain from using glitter or any other inserts that would not be appropriate in a hospital environment.
Other organizations that offer means of showing your support for our troops or assist wounded service members and their families include:
East Carolina University is finding another way to show its support. ECU football fans are buying tickets for their team’s bowl game in Hawaii and giving them away to service members who are stationed there.
So far, one Pirates fan has donated 25 tickets, at $40 a pop. If the five branches of the armed forces in Hawaii can’t use the tickets — and the military has 45,500 people stationed there, ECU has directed that they should be given to firefighters, police officers and local charities.
That’s one way to share the true spirit of the holidays.