Isn't it amazing how you learn things?
For instance, I got a wild hair last week (I get them often - not sure if that's good!) to hold some events to pull together cards to send to our troops overseas. I thought it a productive use of the Memorial Day weekend.
I belong to a group of Stampin' Up! demonstrators called Late Night Stampers. Over the past 6 months or so, I've seen several people post that they'll take any cards that anyone wants to donate.
So, after I emailed the details of my event to my customers, I posted to this group and asked someone to contact me, so that I'd have somewhere to send the cards we'd make. I also asked what restrictions, if any, there were for these cards.
I was the Stampin' Up! Lead at the local Ronald McDonald House for several years. We donated cards to them, and were asked not to bring either Get Well, or Sympathy cards. Since our local house supports Rady Children's Hospital, that made perfectly good sense to me.
One gal emailed right away and told me they'd be very happy to have the cards. Their group's name is "From Our Hearts" and their website is http://www.FromOurHearts.info. Their website just went up over the weekend, so will continue to change as they grow.
Several others emailed me about a website that's dedicated to this as well, and is called "Cards for Heroes". http://www.cardsforheroes.com
So, I checked out the Cards for Heroes site. It's HUGE and is very a professional looking website. I learned a lot about how many cards are being sent from this website alone, because they have an entire page with stats - how many were sent where.
They also had some excellent guidelines posted re: what NOT to send. The biggest thing? GLITTER! It seems the glitter shows up in night vision goggles, and can put our servicemen in danger.
Well, I'm not much of a glitter Queen, so I knew most of mine would be just fine. But I swap card fronts with anyone who wants to swap, and I have no control over the glitter thing. But I COULD (and I did) sort thru and pull out those cards that had glitter on them. I'll donate them to Ronald McDonald house. Kids LOVE glitter!
While I was out on the Web searching, I also looked at the Late Night Stampers Yahoo group and found something like 10 different groups who do this! WHO KNEW? I certainly didn't!
So I contacted the gal from "From Our Hearts" to get an address and we've been communicating over the weekend. She told me today that this group has just gone from supporting 12 locations to supporting 200 different locations!
That's a LOT of cards!
These cards are given to our service men and women so they can communicate with their friends and family back here in the States. They don't have a lot of Hallmark stores over there! And, they don't have to pay postage to mail them home, so even the "clumpy" (i.e., heavily accessorized) cards are quite acceptable!
I assured her that there would be 147 cards put into the mail for them tomorrow, and that there would be more forthcoming in the very near future.
And I have to tell you, I had several more emails today, saying they'd be very happy to take any donations I was able to send. There's a huge need out there!
Since our BUSINESS is selling items for card making, I'm glad so many of the demonstrators have stepped up and volunteered to fulfill this need. Many of the demos are in the service, either as an active member or as a family member for one (or more). The gal who I'll be sending my cards to has a son who has been deployed it Iraq SIX TIMES!
So... I'll be posting FREE EVENTS in the future to make cards for the troops. I hope you will come help me in this endeavor at some point.
It's a boring job - I'll be upfront! All we're doing is attaching a folded piece of card stock to a card front, adding an envelope, and then placing these items into a clear cellophane envelope. The cellophane envelope is to keep the cards from getting dirty while our service people search for the perfect card to send. But being able to sit and chat with friends and fellow demonstrators while doing this makes the task and time go quickly.
I also saw on the Cards for Heroes site that they're requesting cards addressed to "Any Hero" with a note expressing our thanks to them for the sacrifices they're making to keep us free.
I haven't done this as yet, but it's on my "List of Things To Do". And I would be happy to take any cards YOU'D like to send in this effort. I'll see that they get to the proper person/place.
My eyes were opened this weekend to a huge need I knew nothing about! And it's something I can do - on my own or with friends, neighbors, customers, or family! Hope you'll consider stopping by to help!