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Holiday Mail For Heroes


It’s been said that home is where the heart is. Nothing brings a touch of home to someone far away from family and friends like a card. For the fifth year in a row, the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes are giving everyone an opportunity to send a touch of home this holiday season to members of the U.S. military, veterans and their families through the 2011 Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

From now until December 9, the public is invited to send holiday cards that contain messages of cheer and appreciation. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will then screen the cards for hazardous materials, sort and package the cards, and deliver them to military bases and hospitals, veteran’s hospitals and other locations during the holidays.

Sam Kille served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1990 to 2003. He is now the Regional Director of Communications for the Red Cross in Greater New York. Kille knows what it means to get mail when you are serving your country far from home.

“It’s hard to describe what it means to get a letter from home,” he said. “And it didn’t matter who the letter was from. Somehow, mail was a validation that what I was doing was important and recognized.” You can read more on his blog, “Changing Lives, The Storybook.”

The Holiday Mail For Heroes post office box is open and ready to receive cards. Please send all mail to:
Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Please observe the following guidelines to ensure your card goes through the review process quickly:

* Only cards are being accepted. Do not send letters.
* All cards should be postmarked no later than Friday, December 9, 2011. Please be sure to affix adequate postage.
* Ensure that all cards are signed.
* Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program.
* Do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
* Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
* Please do not send cards with glitter.
* Participants should limit the number of cards they submit to 25 from any one person or 50 from any one class or group. If you are mailing a large quantity, please bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

Additional ways to become involved with the campaign include connecting with fellow card senders through Facebook at and Twitter at using the hashtag #holidaymail.

For more information and card requirements, please visit


Welcome & Welcome Back!

Welcome & Welcome Back!

We are very excited to start a new school year with you and we look forward to seeing all of the fun activities you’ll take part in on behalf of the American Red Cross! We want to welcome back our returning clubs: Camarillo, Oxnard, Rio Mesa, La Reina, Moorpark, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Westlake, Oak Park, Cabrillo, Dos Pueblos, Lompoc, San Marcos, Santa Barbara, UCSB, Santa Maria, Righetti, St. Joe’s, Santa Ynez, Arroyo Grande, Nipomo, Paso Robles, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and North County Christian.

And, we want to give a warm welcome to our brand new clubs this year: Carpinteria, Templeton and Mission Prep.

We also have a new staff member based out of our San Luis Obispo office who we would like to introduce you to- Casey Weiss.  She is the new Community Services Coordinator and she will be supporting the clubs in the northern section of the Central Coast Region.  Speaking of the Central Coast Region, for those of you who don’t know, the Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County Chapters are working more closely than ever before as the American Red Cross, Central Coast Region. This means that you will have monthly calls with clubs from all over our region and will be working together to contribute to the same wonderful cause: helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters. We appreciate all that you do and are extremely fortunate to have so many young people continue to come back year after year in support of the Red Cross.

We are going to have a great year!!!

San Marcos get a new Red Cross look!


The San Marcos Red Cross Club wanted to refresh and create their own Red Cross look. They plan many activities for the entire school year including numerous bake sales and the Teachers vs. Seniors Basketball Game. But the club wanted to do something different this year and so they decided to design their own shirts.

The process of creating a design was not difficult but raising money to pay for the shirts was a tough task.  They did not know where to begin with their plans so they did what they are best at; holding bake sales. The club was able to fundraise money from bake sales and each member donated a few dollars to personalize their shirts.

The end result is a new look, direction, and motivation for the San Marcos Red Cross Club. They plan to be even more successful in their efforts to help the Santa Barbara community and beyond. Each member will now proudly represent the Red Cross and San Marcos High School on Friday April 22nd, 2011 at the Teachers vs. Seniors Basketball Game.

The San Marcos team hopes that other clubs will be motivated to do something as a club that not only shows Red Cross pride but also the effort it takes to help the community.

The San Marcos team poses with their new Red Cross look!

Good luck to all the Red Cross Clubs in their fundraisers and other events!

– Manpreet Kaur

Dos Pueblos Red Cross Club Japan Fundraiser and Informational Flyer


The Dos Pueblos Red Cross Club has decided to have a bake sale in order to raise money to help those in Japan who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

The bake sale is on Tuesday, March 22, from 5-7 pm in front of the Trader Joe’s in Calle Real. We’ll be selling a variety of sweets for donations of $2. It would be great if other Red Cross club members from across the county could drop by.

We also created an informational flyer about the crisis and what the Red Cross has been doing in response, and we’ll be handing this flyer out at our bake sale. I uploaded it to the blog as well in case any other clubs would like to use it.

This is the flyer:

Updated Red Cross Informational Flyer for Japan

Thanks and I hope to see you at the bake sale!

– Connie W.

UPDATE: 3/22/2011: We had our bake sale today and it was a huge success! We ended up raising $311 for Japan. Special thanks to Kaleena for helping us bake, set up the table, and run the table.

Red Cross Youth – Help Japan


Delta Airline passengers take shelter inside the Taiyo Community Center here March 11. American Red Cross volunteers provided blankets, pillows, food and water for aircraft passengers whose planes were diverted from Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan, following an earthquake near Tokyo.

Many of you have expressed concern for Japan and wondered how you can assist the Red Cross relief efforts.  The Japanese Red Cross has deployed 11 National Disaster Response Teams to conduct assessments, provide healthcare and first aid and plan for the relief supplies distribution.  At this time, the Japanese Red Cross has not made  request for human resource assistance, but you can help people affected by disasters by making a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund.  Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.

If your Club is interested in raising funds for the Japan Disaster Relief effort, here are some tips for a successful fundraiser:

  • Your cost should never be higher then your profit; the more complicated the fundraiser, the higher the costs and the more time you need to plan. Plan a simple fundraiser that has low overhead but high impact! If you have a great fundraiser idea, please post it in the comments! (Check out the Best Practices guide for more fundraiser ideas)
  • If hosting a fundraiser on your campus, it is important to check with administration on what policies or paperwork might be necessary. If the fundraiser is hosted off campus, it is important to check with the property owner to ensure they support your event and you are following their policies.
  • Be sure to have information and signs/flyers that explain where the funds are going; we want to always honor donor intent. If your Club will be donating the money to another Red Cross program, it is important donors are aware.
  • Keep in touch with the Red Cross regularly during your fundraiser so we send you the most up to date information on the Red Cross efforts during the emergency.  This will guide you when answering questions from the community.
  • Consider partnering with other Red Cross Clubs in your area to plan a joint fundraiser. This will give you more resources and allow you to reach a larger audience.  Post a comment if you want to partner with another Club!
  • If people want to donate via check, be sure they write Japanese Disaster in the memo line to designate their donation.
  • If people want to donate via credit/debit card, they can call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
  • If people want to donate electronically, they can visit
  • All cash and checks collected by a fundraiser should be turned into the Red Cross office in a timely manner. If large amounts of change are collected, ideally the Club would exchange the change for bills, but absolutely must count all money before turning into the Red Cross office. Any money turned into the Red Cross office must be accompanied by a Donation Form. Money without a donation form will not be accepted until the from is complete. (Donation Form)

If you have any questions or need assistance with your fundraiser, contact Club Advisor, Lauren Ward, at  You can also post  your questions or ideas in the comments and Lauren will respond.