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Positively Upstate: Cards for Troops

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GLENMONT, NY (WRGB) Right now, inside an unassuming Glenmont garage, an amazing operation is underway to bring Christmas to thousands of U.S. troops stationed all over the world. It’s called Christmas Cards for Your Troops.

“Last year we did over 300,000 cards. This year we’re on our way to do 500,000.” Says co-founder Melody Burns.

Inside Burns’ garage right now is an assembly line of volunteers with the biggest of hearts, carefully packaging and shipping boxes of hundreds of thousands of cards and other items to brighten the spirits of lonely soldiers during the holidays.

“It’s taken over my downstairs office. It’s grown into my husband’s workshop. So, it just keeps growing!” Burns says.

The organization Christmas Cards for Your Troops isn’t new to the Capital Region; it’s been around for almost 12 years. What has changed is the sheer volume of mail it receives each year. Used Christmas cards sent in from all over the world – which, thanks to local volunteers, are re-used and sent to military members.

“We like doing whatever we can for our veterans.” Says Roseann Lohrey, a volunteer and President of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 1040 (Delmar). “It means a lot because it looks like we’re doing something for them at home while they’re out there fighting for us.”

Here’s how it works – throughout the year people are asked to send in old Christmas cards. Volunteers cut the backs off and make them into postcards. They’re then addressed and packed into boxes to be shipped. To cover postage, people can ‘adopt a box’ which not only includes cards but handmade pillows, scarves, comic books, and other items to make a solider overseas feel more at home.

“If they’re a veteran (sender), we ask them to write something about their service. So when they get it, it’s from someone who knows what it is like to be away at Christmas time.” Burns explains.

Burns says sometimes troops will write back and thank them. She remembers one soldier who did on Facebook, then was tragically killed two months later. His mother was the next to reach out.

“She sent me a note, telling me that he’d kept his cards and what they meant to him.” Says Burns. “She said, I don’t think people realize one card canmake a difference in somebody’s life when they’re serving overseas.”

A local parade will be held on Saturday, November 25th to bring all the cards to the Glenmont Post Office. (9:30 AM)

Do you want to get involved with Christmas Cards for Your Troops? Here’s how:

Facebook – search ‘The Battlefield & Beyond’ to reach the group’s community page.

*Adopt a box* is $25.00

More information about adopting a box (for this year) and card collection (for 2018) can be found on the Facebook page. Also – see special requests from soldiers! Toilet paper, socks, coffee, etc.

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