The Heart of Missouri Chapter of the Red Cross has finished collecting cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Community Market Manager Clayton Kennedy:

Clayton Kennedy

Press Release from the American Red Cross

JEFFERSON CITY, Dec. 5, 2013 — The American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter collected 3,537 Holiday Mail for Heroes cards that will be sent to services members and veterans around the corner and around the world.

“This was just a tremendous show of support for those who are serving or who have served our country,” said Clayton Kennedy, the chapter’s community market manager and local program coordinator. “I was especially impressed with the number of cards that came from students. We had students from kindergarten to high school either making or signing cards.”
Schools from all parts of the chapter’s 21 county coverage area took part in Holiday Mail for Heroes, which was sponsored locally by Columbia Insurance Group and Commerce Bank.

“Every card we send to a military member or veteran is special, but those that come from kids are extra special,” Kennedy said.

The chapter also had three public card signings – two in Columbia and one in Jefferson City. Organizations, companies, youth groups and individuals also turned in cards for the program, which began in October.

About 2,200 cards were handmade. Others were prepared cards made available through a partnership with the St. Louis Rams.
Kennedy said the chapter sent out about 750 cards last year and had a goal of sending 2,000 cards this year.

“This was really more than I expected,” Kennedy said. “I thought more than doubling our goal from last year was ambitious, but the response from people across the chapter made the program successful. Some of the messages were just awesome.”
The cards will be sent to Washington, D.C. where they will be screened. Cards will then be distributed across the country and world.

Chapter staff and volunteers will hand deliver cards during the holiday season to veterans at the Truman VA Hospital and at VA homes in Mexico and St. James.

You can help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org <http://www.redcross.org> or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.