Sunday, April 24, 2011
Operation Write Home Delivers
Operation Write Home Delivers: 750,000 cards sent
If you have a loved one or a friend stationed overseas, you know how much they appreciate greeting cards and letters sent from home.
And there's no shortage of agencies and organizations that send cards, letters and packages through the mail to them.
But, until recently, there was no one to help military personnel return the favor, to send cards back home to family and friends. Those engaged in military operations have little or not opportunity to pick up holiday or seasonal cards to keep in touch with family members.
In 2007, Sandy Allnock heard a story about a woman in Texas who sent a box of greeting cards to her son so he and his fellow soldiers could send greetings home.
"It was pretty much an accident that got me started on this," Allnock said. "I contacted many of my friends and we decided to start something."
Allnock set up an organization called "Cards for Heroes," which was later changed to "Operation Write Home."
"We decided not to use store-bought cards, but rather rely on the creative skills of people who could make their own hand-made cards," she said. "We have thousands of volunteers around the country who make the cards and send them to us for packaging and mailing to the troops."
Operation Write Home's slogan is "Helping heroes keep in touch with home."
Allnock lives and works in Federal Way, WA. About 40 percent of the cards are mailed from the Twin Lakes Branch Post Office in Federal Way. Another 30 percent are mailed each from Charlotte, NC and from Olathe, KS.
"We love the Postal Service," Allnock said. "We use the Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes and get the $2 discount for mailing to military personnel. The free shipping containers help to keep our costs down."
Each shipment also includes some "hero mail," letters addressed to military personnel thanking them for service to their country.
Last year Operation Write Home sent about 1,440 boxes of greeting cards overseas. Each box contains 325 to 350 cards. Donations come in from around the country to pay for postage, which amounted to more than $18,000 last year. The organization has a webpage and also relies on social media to get the word out about their efforts.