Last year, according to to event organizers, more than 2,500 cards were crafted and sent to service personnel stationed overseas, who in turn were able to use those cards to send home messages of holiday cheers to their families and friends.
"It's quite a labor-intensive event," said organizer Susan Saunders, speaking to the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon at the club's weekly breakfast meeting Sept. 12 at Ben's Family Restaurant in Brandon. "We start designing cards in July and figure out what we need and how much we need." For the past three Fridays, she added, she and her colleagues "have been cutting, cutting and cutting card stock and layers" for the event.
Saunders noted ways to get involved:
- Attend Cards for Troops at the Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association, on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Center Place shares space with the Brandon Regional Library in the Sandy Rodriguez Center, at 619 Vonderburg Drive.
- Donate a sponsorship to help pay for the cost of materials and supplies, which amounts to more than $3,000, according to an event announcement. As Saunders put it: "We need card stock, we need glue, we have to have ribbons, we have to have jewels." For a donation in excess of $100, a business name will be placed on the matching number of cards acknowledging that donation. Plus, the company's logo will be displayed on flyers and posters. Also needed: donations of snacks to provide to card-making volunteers.
- "Provide addresses of deployed soldiers," Saunders said, "because we will send each address we have 150 to 200 cards to spread around their [units] to make sure the [troops] have cards to send back to their families and friends." As noted on the event announcement, organizers are "especially interested in sending cards to those in foreign hospitals to send to their loved ones."
The event is free to community members age 16 and older. For younger children, a card-making day is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 25, at which time personalized cards will be made to send along in the boxes of packaged cards.
"Each card will say, 'You're My Hero,' on it," Saunders said. "Our kids write a letter to whomever. Some of the letters they write are amazing. Each box of cards will have at least one [of these personalized cards in it] so the soldiers can see how our youth feel about them."
For information, call Center Place at 813-685-8888.