Friday, October 05, 2007

Donating Cards for Troops

It never fails that, whenever I post samples of cards I've made for troops (either here or in my SCS gallery), a number of people contact me, asking how they too can get involved. Whether we agree with the war or not, the sad fact is that many service men and women are away from their families during long rotations in Iraq and Afghanistan--sometimes as long as two years!--missing birthdays, graduations, holidays, and many other special occasions.

Unlike those of us at home, they do not have the option of walking into a Hallmark store to pick something out. In fact, I've heard from many stationed overseas that the PX on every base around the world pretty much stocks the same three cards and they are gone as soon as they come in. When I saw a plea for volunteers by a fellow stamper at Splitcoaststampers two years ago, I instantly got involved. Since then I've seen many more requests posted, as well as posts and emails from others wanting to get involved but not sure what to do or where to send them. This should help you out!

THE BASICS

Cards are generally 4.25x 5.5 inches and must include envelopes. While some embellishments such as ribbon, cording, brads, eyelets and multiple layers are okay, try to limit 3-dimensional ones such as buttons or other protruding hardware. Postage is not necessary since many troops overseas have free mail. Inside greetings are fine, just remember to leave room for them to write a message. Also, if using dark cardstock for your cards, make sure the inside is a light color so they can write in them. Birthdays and "thinking of you" cards are always in high demand--both serious and humorous, child and adult, masculine and feminine. There is a huge call for holiday cards as well, with Christmas cards being especially big at the moment.

The important thing to remember about making holiday cards, is that you have to ship them out at least a month in advance to allow time for cards to reach the troops, and time for them to send cards home. This means that Halloween cards should already be airborn, Thanksgiving cards should go out by mid-October, Christmas cards by mid-November, and Valentines by mid-January, etc. It can be a little confusing at first, working a month or two in advance, but think of the smile it will bring some little boy or girl who gets a card from Mommy or Daddy.

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

You can become involved with sending cards or other materials to troops overseas through a variety of different programs and websites. You can adopt a soldier or unit through sites such as AnySoldier.com or Angel Stampers for Soldiers, or you can volunteer to fill book and other requests through sites such as Operation Paperback and Books For Soldiers (note: you will have to send in a notarized application and fee for BFS). There are many more organizations out there, so finding one that fits shouldn't be too difficult.

You can also join a group collecting blank cards for troops through friends, churches or a site you frequent on the Internet. As mentioned above, I became part of a group when I saw a request posted to the SCS message boards. We have one coordinator, Sue, who collects cards from all of us, then sends them overseas to one of "our people" as soon as she has a bx of goodies filled. Although our primary focus is sending handmade cards, we also send candy, pens, magazines, and other goodies when we can, or send a little something to Sue once in a while to help with shipping costs. There are several people our group sends to, and no card has ever gone to waste. In fact, we hear quite frequently how they are usually gone as soon as our contacts set them out.

What follows is a short list of SCS coordinators currently collecting cards for troops. I will not post any mailing addresses here, so if you want an address or want to know more about a group or request, simply click on the links. I've tried to include what sort of cards each person is looking for or other pertinent imformation.


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Diane is collecting cards for wounded troops for Operation Quiet Comfort. "Get well," Thinking of you" or "thank you for your sacrifice" cards appreciated.

Rachel is collecting cards for troops from Vermont.

Kelley is collecting birthday cards for a battalion chaplain.

Jen E. is collecting cards/card fronts to send to troops.

Donna is collecting cards for local VFW to send overseas in care packages, send to sick veterans and to the VA nursing home.

Jackie is a soldier from Minnesota stationed in Afghanistan, and is collecting cards for her battalion. (Update from Jackie: due to surgery scheduled in mid-December, she requests that no packages be sent after December 1, as she does not yet know where her surgery will be.)

This request is a bit different. Heather (not me!) is collecting Christmas cards for her husband's unit stationed in Afghanistan. These are cards to be sent to individuals in appreciation of their service, some of whom never get any mail. Donors can write a short message themselves, or send cards to Heather which she will then write out.

Jen is collecting cards for her husband’s unit.

Hope A. is collecting cards for the unit of a friend's husband deployed to Iraq.

Christina is collecting cards and other items for her brother’s platoon, deployed to Iraq for 15 months. See her thread for a list of other items they are requesting.

Shell is collecting cards, pens and other supplies for the battalion of a friend’s husband recently sent to Iraq.

Mary Hutchinson is collecting cards and stationery for a church group sending materials to the troops.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and there are sure to be many more posted at SCS and other venues over the coming weeks, but it is a starting point for those wishing to support the troops with no idea how they can get involved.

1 comment:

TheCrookedStamper said...

Thank you for doing this summary! I found you through a PM someone sent as a response to my post on SCS.