I am always amazed when I hear about another organization and the many volunteers making sure our troops serving overseas know how much America appreciates their dedication and what they are doing to ensure our safety and freedom.
I recently learned about the Johnsonburg, PA, based Letters From Home program when postal employees got together on a recent Sunday morning to help with a shipment of Priority Mail boxes destined for soldiers serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other foreign bases.
“On Monday we started the process of entering nearly 300 packages into the system for postage and customs forms,” said Johnsonburg Post Office Officer in Charge John Zimmerman.
Within a week, program founder Christine Jovenitti stopped by the office to let Zimmerman know that several thank you e-mails, from grateful military service members who had received packages, had already arrived.
“She also wanted to thank us for volunteering our time on a Sunday to lend a hand and for the terrific service the Postal Service provides to make sure these packages arrived safe and sound just in time for the holidays,” Zimmerman said.
“There are package mailings three times a year,” said Zimmerman. “Postal employees volunteer every time a shipment needs to be prepared.”
Jovenitti began the program in 2003 when her son was in boot camp. On the website, Jovenitti says her son wrote to her asking for news from home. So she got the idea of collecting as many notes of support from family and friends as she could. She put all the letters in one big envelope and sent it to her son in Georgia.
After receiving the first packet, her son wrote back saying that for letters filled with local news and support he would do hundreds of push-ups; it made such a difference in his day. Jovenitti took the experience — and the realization of how important letters and encouragement from home are — and turned it into a national program.
To date, along with care packages, more than 400,000 cards and letters have been sent to military personnel.
Guidelines for becoming involved are simple — keep your correspondence on a cheerful note including words of gratitude for the soldier’s service, protection and selflessness and don’t seal the letter or card in an envelope. Every card and letter is read to make sure the message is positive.
Send the cards and letters to PO Box 125, Johnsonburg, PA 15845-0125 and volunteers will address the card or letter to a service member.
- Why you are thankful to live in the United States.
- Why you appreciate their sacrifices to protect all of us.
- What the recent weather has been like.
- About a family outing, reunion or special occasion.
- How you spend your free time.
- Funny stories or jokes.
- About a family member who is a veteran.
- You can include pictures or drawings.
- Children’s artwork is especially appreciated.
For more information on how you can help, check the website
It may seem like a small thing to do, but according to Jovenitti, this correspondence is priceless to these men and women serving our nation.