Holidays for Heroes Program Getting Ready to Launch in NEO

Annual Program Helps Cheer Men and Women Serving in the Military

By: Jessica Tischler, Service to the Armed Forces Manager

We have begun collecting cards for our annual program – Holidays for Heroes. As with last year, we are looking for more generalized cards that can be used throughout the year.  These cards will be delivered to service members, veterans and their families in Northeast Ohio.

We are asking that you provide a couple of cards with thoughtful, heartfelt messages instead of large numbers with only a signature.

This year, we are partnering with the Troop and Family Assistance Center to collect items that are needed by service members in Northeast Ohio.  A donation of these small items with a note of appreciate will be welcomed by those serving us here in Northeast Ohio.

  • Toilet paper
  • Dish soap
  • Baby wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Kleenex
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Shaving cream and razors
  • Canned meat
  • Canned fruit
  • Pastas
  • Breakfast foods
  • Coffee
  • Drink Mix

Each of the five chapters in Northeast Ohio are collecting the items and cards for local distribution to service members, their families, and veterans through military units, area VA service locations, VFWs, and other military organizations. Through this program, cards may be delivered individually, included in care packages or displayed at common venues in military installations and hospitals.

A few rules:

  • The Red Cross does not provide cards to sign. Instead, please feel free to make cards or use any favorites that you have on hand.
  • In order to make cards as meaningful as possible for a wide audience, we recommend that you use generic titles such as “Dear Service Member,/Veteran/ Military Family Member” when writing the cards.
  • Please, no personal information such as addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses
  • Cards should not contain glitter because some cards may end up at the bedside of a wounded service member and the glitter could aggravate existing health issues.
  • Please do not seal in individual envelopes. It is easier for our volunteers to screen and sort the cards if they aren’t individually sealed in envelopes.
  • Individual cards can be dropped off or mailed to the Red Cross chapters in a large envelope or mailing box.
  • We ask that people not enclose any items with the holiday cards. Any items enclosed with the holiday cards will be removed, including photos and other gifts. If you wish to provide financial support for Red Cross services to the military, please donate online.
  • Chapters cannot accept cards after November 30– we still need time for our volunteers to sort and deliver!

You can mail cards, or drop cards and items off (between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.) to the following locations:

Greater Cleveland Chapter
3747 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter
244 West South Street
Wooster, OH 44691

Elyria Office
2929 West River Rd. N.
Elyria, OH 44035

Mansfield Office
39 N. Park Street
Mansfield, OH 44902

 Lake to River Chapter
3530 Belmont Avenue
Suite 7
Youngstown, OH 44505

Stark County & Muskingum Lakes Chapter
408 9th Street, SW
Canton, OH 44707

Muskingum Lakes Office
734 Fair Ave NW
New Philadelphia, OH 44663 

Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter
501 West Market Street
Akron, OH 44303

How can you get involved in the Holiday Mail program beyond mailing a card?

Word of Mouth: Host a card signing party as part of your Thanksgiving Celebration!

Social Media: Connect with fellow card senders through social media channels and help us get the word out through Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtag #holidaymail.

Help Sort and Deliver Cards: If you are interested in helping sort and deliver cards, please contact Jessica Tischler at 216-426-7525 to see how you can help.

Family Grateful for Emergency Military Communications

The message below was sent to a Red Cross volunteer, who provides Service to the Armed Forces:
Thank you soo much for getting my son home with my dad having a massive heartattack whom we were told was not going to make it. Thankfully with all the prayers and support my dad is recovering. The Red Cross is truly a blessing working with the men and woman whom are serving our country. Thank u red Cross for ensuring that my son made it home. I give u a 5 plus rating.
Linking military families during a crisis through Emergency Communications is only part of what we do for members of the military, veterans and their families.  We also link military families to local resources and support services.  We provide training that promotes resiliency and preparedness to help families cope with the challenges of military life. And we support wounded warriors in Veterans Administration (VA) and military hospitals across the nation and around the world, including the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland.
If you are in the military, or have a child serving our country, or are a veteran, download the Hero Care App.  It will connect you to important resources that can help you through both emergency and nonemergency situations.
herocare-app2
For more information, contact Jessica Tischler, Regional Director of Service to the Armed Forces, at 216-426-7525.

Caring Cubs Create Cards to Help Heroes Celebrate Holidays

Children Use Artistic Talent to Say “Thank You” to Service Members, Veterans 

The annual American Red Cross Holidays for Heroes Campaign is in full swing, and  Caring Cubs is making its annual contribution. The Northeast Ohio-based organization holds monthly events for children ages 2 and up, designed to teach various lessons of social responsibility.  On Saturday, November 5th, dozens of children and their parents gathered in the Main Galleria at Cuyahoga Community College Western Campus in Parma to create cards to send to members of the military.

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Bryn and Elle with mom Anne

“It’s great to partner with organizations like Caring Cubs,” said Jessica Tischler, Regional Director of Service to the Armed Forces.  “The cards they created will no doubt bring smiles to many faces this holiday season.”

Unlike previous campaigns, this year we hope to solicit cards that can be sent to service members and their families at every holiday during the year.  We are asking for personal, heartfelt messages in every card, even if it means collecting fewer cards.  See our earlier post, which includes a video highlighting the need for meaningful messages, as well as a list of items we are collecting for patients at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

Log onto our Flickr page to see more photos of the Caring Cubs’ efforts to brighten the holidays for our heroes.

Tiny Hands, Huge Hearts Help Heroes Celebrate Holidays

Caring Cubs Make Cards for Red Cross Military Mail Campaign

From the hands of babes.  Members of the Armed Forces will receive some holiday cheer this year thanks to the artistic abilities…and the service-oriented parents…of the children of Caring Cubs.

Dozens of families gathered on Saturday, November 7th in the Main Gallery of Cuyahoga Community College West in Parma, prepared to decorate holiday cards with pictures and messages to military men and women who will be away from home for the holidays.

“This is a perfect project for the children to engage in hands-on community service,” said Kelly Rudloff, a Caring Cubs Board Member.  “They like to color and draw, so they are doing an activity they enjoy while at the same time helping the Red Cross bring some holiday joy to members of the military.”

More than 375 cards were decorated by the Caring Cubs for U. S. service members.

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Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Caring Cubs was formed six years ago by parents who wanted to teach their children about philanthropy and service at a young age, by engaging them with age-appropriate activities.  Children as young as two years old are invited to be Caring Cubs.  Monthly events are held, with the aim to teach the children lessons on social responsibility.

The Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program enables Americans to “Give Something That Means Something” this holiday season. “We invite the public to send cards of thanks, encouragement and holiday cheer to members of our Armed Forces, veterans and military families,” said Jessica Tischler, Director of Service to Armed Forces for the American Red Cross, Northeast Ohio Region.  “Many of our service men and women will be separated from their loved ones this holiday season.  These cards will help brighten their holidays.”

Holiday Mail for Heroes is just one way the Red Cross honors and serves the military. Our unwavering commitment to members of the U.S. military, its veterans and their families continues to grow and develop more than a century after Clara Barton first recruited nurses to support the U.S. Army.  We provide three types of assistance beginning on the first day of enlistment: Emergency Services, Service to Military Families and Service to Military and Veterans Hospitals, including the Louis B. Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland.

If you would like to “Give Something That Means Something” for the holidays, you have until November 30 to create your cards for members of the military and get them to your local Red Cross office for distribution.  Click here for more information.

Feel the Heat, 2015

Working With the Military on a Disaster Drill

The firefighting abilities of the 910th Airlift Wing Fire Department were on full display at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station on Thursday, October 22, 2015, as were the services provided by the American Red Cross during times of disaster.

Video credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

The second annual “Feel the Heat” exercise involved a simulated airplane crash, to demonstrate the response of firefighters and Red Cross staff and volunteers.  The drill also showcased how the Red Cross cooperates with the military to respond to the needs of family members and others.

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Photo credit/Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

As flames shot from the hull of the simulated wreckage, members of the 910th Civil Engineer Fire Department raced to the scene, fought the fire and searched for “survivors.”  It is those survivors and their loved ones who the Red Cross serves in the event of an aviation disaster.  The American Red Cross is responsible for tracking victims and their families, and providing them with counselling and support.  Staff members and volunteers would be activated to set-up necessary shelters, coordinate family and childcare facilities, arrange suitable non-denominational services, and make referrals to mental health professionals and support groups.

The American Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters every year, big and small.  Most are home fires.  Victims are given emergency financial assistance, food, shelter, clothing and assistance with medicines, eyeglasses, even dentures they may have lost in a disaster.

It takes the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors to help the victims of disasters.  You can learn more about volunteering, and make a donation at redcross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.  You can also text the words “Red Cross” to 90999 to make a $10.00 donation.

The American Red Cross also serves members of the military and their families through the Service to Armed Forces program.  Learn more about the ways in which the Red Cross is committed to helping the U. S. Military here.