Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Volunteer Rallies Her Company for OWH

This is an article that appeared in Colonial Life's company newsletter - it's great to see a cardmaker highlighted this way, and her efforts to organize her company are wonderful!
Colonial Life’s Cathy Brooks always enjoyed scrapbooking and crafts, but when she found a cause for her favorite hobby, it took on a whole new meaning. 
She often sends handmade, blank, greeting cards to her friends and family, and one day she read about a holiday card–making program for troops overseas. She began teaching card-making classes at the local scrapbook store and collected blank cards to ship to troops for the Christmas holiday. But she wanted to do more. 
She began to do some research, and found out about Operation Write Home (OWH), which sends blank, handmade cards to troops for all occasions year round. She knew that other crafters at Colonial Life would share her joy in creating cards for the troops. 
“I talked to the volunteer coordinator here, and she asked me if I would run it,” says Brooks. “I started in July, and had my first table set up outside the cafeteria and got people to sign up for card-making classes.” 
Now, she teaches those classes on the Columbia campus each month and has 18 card-makers to assist in filling boxes with their handmade cards for troops to send back home. Many co-workers also participate in Hero Mail, in which volunteers write letters to deployed troops who may not get many letters from home. 
“The great thing about the website is that it’s a wellspring of information and motivation,” says Brooks. “The site has card-making tutorials, thank-you posts from troops and their families, a link to donate funds for shipping cards overseas, and weekly card totals. There are also ‘do’s and don’ts,’ like no glitter, since it can make soldiers visible at night.”
In addition to the cards made in classes, Colonial Life employees and their family members have contributed more than 400 pieces of Hero Mail for the holidays. Troops particularly like to post pictures and letters from children. The troops say the mail helps them know that even people they’ve never met are thinking of them. 
Operation Write Home has sent more than 650,000 handmade cards to deployed troops since it began in 2007 and has 3,000 card-makers nationwide. The cards provide a way that troops can send letters and holiday cards to their families, while Hero Mail keeps troops connected to home. Brooks says that the troops and their families enjoy getting something handmade and handwritten. 
“It all just touched something in me,” says Brooks. “I can’t imagine being away from family. A lot of these people are young, with young kids, and have been deployed five or six times. I appreciate the fact that they are willing to do this, and it makes me feel good when I do something for them.” 
For more information on Operation Write Home, please visit 
Unum is a registered trademark and marketing brand of Unum Group and its insuring subsidiaries © 2010 Unum Group. All rights reserved.
Do you have a story to share? Have you organized your company, your school, or your church to make cards or write hero mail?  We'd love to share your story!


Paula S. said...

What a wonderful story. Thanks to Cathy for working so hard to spread toe word about OWH and getting her whole company involved. Fantastic!

Tereza Crump said...

oh, this is so wonderful.

I have talked to my pastor's wife about hosting a once a month card making party at our church. I was thinking about making it family friendly (all ages) and open to the community.

I am working out the details but hope to be able to host my first one soon. :)

Merry Christmas!!