HOLIDAY HELPING HANDS" Red Cross collecting Christmas letters for soldiers

Students at St. Aloysius make handmade Christmas cards for soldiers overseas

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some Baton Rouge students made holiday cards for U.S. soldiers Tuesday morning.

Third graders at St. Aloysius made the cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, run by the American Red Cross. The letters will be sent to U.S. service men and women who won’t be seeing their families this holiday season.

“Whenever you’re deployed, it’s just one of those things where you get lonely or you don’t have contact with your family members constantly, and it’s really just nice, honestly, to get a thank you from somebody you don’t even know,” said Robert Harris, the regional program director of the Services for the Armed Forces, Louisiana.

Harris, who has served in the military for 24 years, started by talking to the kids about his own experience with the program and the letters he received. He says the program is in its tenth year, and the State of Louisiana distributes roughly 50,000 cards per year. They are sent to soldiers overseas in places like the Middle East and South Korea, and home bases in Louisiana.

Erin Candilora, the school’s principal, says it teaches the kids a good lesson. “Most children are looking for gifts from Santa, but this is an opportunity for them to give back,” she said. “And of course, we know that in giving is when we truly receive.”

Citizens can donate cards of their own as well. They can be delivered to the Red Cross Baton Rouge Office at 4655 Sherwood Common Blvd. between 8:30 a.m and 5 p.m. They have until Friday, December 7 to make the donation.

The Red Cross asks that the cards are not overly religious, as they are mailed to soldiers of different denominations. They also ask that people don’t use a lot of glitter because many go to soldiers who are still nursing wounds. Do not put in any pictures, addresses, or phone numbers.

If your organization is seeking donations during the holiday season and would like to be a part of our “Holiday Helping Hand” series, please send an email to Kevin Foster at kevinfoster@wafb.com. View other stories in the series by clicking the link here

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