Have you been keeping up with our press coverage lately? So much of it, and I’ve been doing a poor job of posting it here for those who don’t go to Facebook! I’m so sorry! You can check out links to them all on our Press Page – some quick highlights:
Military reporter Michael Yon captured a shot of an OWH box while overseas – and posted it on his Facebook page at the time. He’s now posted it on his blog too! Go see the photo, but here is his caption:
Here’s the latest tv story that’s been aired, thanks to Colleen for being willing to make cards on television!
When I first heard that a nonprofit organization was sending blank cards to deployed troops, I did a double-take. Letters to the troops, I understand, butOperation Write Home
has shipped over 1 million blank cards to service members overseas.
Then I read their motto, “Helping heroes keep in touch with home,” and understood that the traditional model has been flipped. Now, service members can send a beautiful, hand-crafted card to the loved ones they left behind.
While a homemade card is a gift small in size and concept, its impact is significant. Most family members don’t expect to receive a hand-written letter during a deployment. And while binder paper would suffice, these gorgeous cards pack an emotional punch.
Sandy Allnock, the founder of Operation Write Home, is a graphic designer for World Vision and an avid card maker. In 2007, she heard a story on the radio about a woman who shipped 1,000 cards to the troops. Allnock considered her own stash. She had boxes full of unused cards. After all, Allnock says, “You only have so many people you can send birthday cards to.”
Allnock posted a message on a craft website, wondering how she might ship her cards overseas. A female soldier at a combat support hospital in Baghdad responded: She would love to distribute them. Allnock and her friends shipped three boxes stuffed with cards to the soldier.
The effort snowballed as word of mouth spread throughout the card-making community. Allnock created a blog and a Facebook page. When shipping donations began to roll in, Allnock formed a board and gained status as a nonprofit. In May of 2011, with weekly shipping costs often nearing $1,000 a week, Operation Write Home sent their one millionth card.
Today, crafters across the country — of all ages and experience levels– design one-of-a-kind cards. These card-makers are aware that one of their cards may be the final correspondence between a service member and his family, so they ensure each is a work of art. A variety of styles and messages are included in each shipment, such as holiday, birthday, thank you, miss you, and special occasion cards. Before every box is sealed, it’s topped off with letters of gratitude.
So what are the service members doing with all these cards? Mailing them. One Major posted just these words: “Box arrived, near riot ensued.” An airman wrote, “These cards are like gold out here.” A member of a hospital staff confessed that “so many of the cards and letters we receive are for our patients…it was nice to receive cards addressed to the staff.”
As for the family members, they couldn’t be more thrilled. “The excitement is priceless on my 4-year-old daughter’s face when she receives (a card) from her daddy.” Some husbands have mailed empty cards home so that their children would be able to present lovely Mother’s Day cards. A mother reported that her child carried Daddy’s card for months, asking for it to be read aloud repeatedly.
“I’m seeing the impact in all of these different ways,” says Allnock, justifying why she devotes 60 hours a week to the project. “The crafters even have a purpose that they didn’t have before. One woman donates cards to honor her grandfather who died in World War II.”
“Those moments,” Allnock says, “catch my breath and give me new wind under my sails. It makes all those hours of labor worth it.”
If you would like to help, tutorials, freebies and guidelines are located at www.operationwritehome
. You can also enroll your deployed unit or make a shipping donation on the site.