Sunday, October 23, 2011
Iraq deployments end; what does that mean for OWH?
With the announcement from President Obama about our heroes coming home from deployments, my email inbox has exploded with questions - so I thought I should get a note out to everyone!
- Our heroes in Iraq are coming home; they are NOT being rerouted to Afghanistan as far as I know. Our contacts are sending us the "I'm coming home!" letters - and we believe them 100%! Yeah!
- Our heroes in Afghanistan are STILL fighting, and more replacements go over there all the time.
- News headlines don't give full information in the few words they use, so read the entire articles you see.
- Heroes around the world also still receive cards - Kuwait, Japan, Kosovo, and many many other locations.
- OWH plans to continue supporting them til they all come home.
Some questions being asked:
"Are you still collecting cards?"
Yes, we are still collecting and sending your beautiful handmade cards! If you check our Mailroom Monday reports, you'll see we still send MANY boxes every week; our roster of contacts has nearly 200 units who get a box every 5-6 weeks. It's not as many as we had during Christmas season last year, but it's still a lot! (We may still get a sudden influx of requests...we're bracing for it!)
"With fewer heroes to serve, how many cards should I send now?"
Many of you have taken on the OWH mission with a passion, challenging yourself to fill a giant box monthly. While we don't want to limit what you give, we'd like to encourage everyone to dial it down just a notch. Some suggested changes:
- Consider reducing the size of the package. Go for a medium box; if you usually send a medium, consider a flat rate envelope.
- With reduced quantities of cards you have to make, you can also now use that extra shipping money to buy some way cool stamps to use on your cards, treat yourself to a sheet of that delicious 12x12 you've been eyeing, or splurge on a pack of quality, heavy cardstock for your bases! I know a lot of you have wanted some Copics - this might be your opportunity to save up for a set!
- Instead of setting a "number" goal for your self - set a time goal. Decide what's feasible - crafting for 4 hours a week for our heroes, or 12 hours a month....then whatever you get done in that time is just fine, and you don't worry about not "meeting" a number goal.
- Try out some fancy folds, new ink techniques, or other things you may have put off in exchange for trying to fill a box quickly. There are so many great challenge blogs - slowing down to think about what you're making could make your cards superfantabulous!
"Can I still make a lot of multiples of one card?"
No. It's going to get harder and harder to mix boxes appropriately when you send multiples - so we'd like you to limit them to no more than 30 unless you get special permission from your shipper. NOTE: "Multiples" includes really similar but not identical ones - changing the card base, patterned paper, or sentiment doesn't make it different, they still "look" the same to an untrained eye. We only put one or two of any same-looking card in any box, so help us get a better mix by varying your cards more. Don't worry, you have time to spend designing those cards now! :) *If you already have completed large amounts of multiples, it's ok to send them; just please don't do more new ones, thanks!
"I'm having a cardmaking party. Should I cancel it?"
No, not at all. We still need cards! But please relay to your attendees that a high quantity goal should be replaced by a quality goal. Consider a prize for the fanciest card, most perfect stamping, or increase the complexity of your kits to allow people to take more time and pour more love into the cards they make. Parties sometimes draw noncardmaking people who want to make a REALLY simple card and do a lot of them - and we want to avoid the lack of quality that goes with that "quantity" attitude. If you need supersimple/fast cards, then have attendees write notes in their cards as they make them.
"What happens if our heroes come home from Afghanistan too?"
We'll continue to serve anyone deployed - America always has heroes keeping the peace around the globe. As any changes come up, we'll update you as to our needs. Watch our blogs and Facebook as well as these semimonthly emails.
"Do you need different kinds of cards now?"
The more flexible cards we receive, the better. That's been true for a long time; anything that requires a specific occasion (a holiday, retirement, get well, baby, etc type theme) has a limited use. For example, instead of sending valentines, you can make beautiful love-themed cards, those will have a shelf life longer than a specific valentine theme...so if we end up with more than our heroes need for the holiday, they can use them any time of year. (Valentines are also welcome, but perhaps try to make your set of cards half for the holiday and half general.)
"Do we need to make Welcome Home cards?"
You can make some and keep an eye on your local paper - if you have a returning unit in your area, they'd love your Welcome Home messages! OWH however does NOT do this; we often have no idea what happens to our returning contacts - they just say they're on the way home and that's all we hear.
A quick reminder: cards for Christmas, Hannukah, and New Years are due October 31. If you're still working and can adapt the remainder of your cards to be general winter cards, that would be a help; those can last longer, so if we get late requests for cards after our Christmas box shipping is over, we can send boxes full of winter cards that could be used for the holidays. Thank you!
PS: Friend-of-OWH Jennifer McGuire is hosting a card drive - if you have extra Christmas cards and want to write a note in them to encourage others, Jennifer's asking for "AnyHero cards" for the elderly! Click here for details.
Posted by Operation Write Home at 6:53 PM