Help spread cheer with ‘Cards for a Cause’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 21, 2021

By Laurie Lyda

Rowan Public Library

SALISBURY —  Do you enjoy sending cheery mail to others? Are you looking for a chance to spread some cheer this holiday season? If your answer to either of those questions is “yes,” then Rowan Public Library’s “Cards for a Cause” campaign might be right up your alley!

Each fall, Rowan Public Library’s “Cards for a Cause” campaign gathers holiday cards to deliver to service members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Since the program began in 2015, it has become a fixture of RPL’s holiday programming, and participation has grown steadily, with 4,444 cards distributed last year.

For the 2021 holiday season, patrons have multiple participation options. Each branch — RPL Headquarters (Salisbury), RPL East (Rockwell), RPL South (China Grove), and RPL West (Cleveland) — has at least one station set up for on-site completion and submission. Additionally, the Salisbury, China Grove and Rockwell YMCAs are each hosting an RPL “Cards for a Cause” station through Dec. 16.

For those who prefer to complete their cards at home, take away kits with card supplies are available at every RPL location for participants to pick up, complete, and then return to the branches. Once patrons have assembled their kits, which contain cards, envelopes, and stickers, the completed cards can be returned to any branch via curbside service or inside at any service desk. The campaign began in October, and kits will be available until Dec. 13 while supplies last.

Participants are also welcome to purchase or create their own cards, sign them, and then deliver the completed cards to the Library for delivery. “Every year, we have individuals, families, and various organizations take advantage of this option,” said RPL Branch Operations Manager Brooke Taylor. “It’s always heartwarming to see the care that so many put into preparing their stacks of cards, and we’ve had as many as 1,000 submitted by a single organization. All made it into the hands of service members and veterans.”

All participants can specify where their cards are delivered: to current service members in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, or National Guard, or to veterans at the W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center. There are different submission deadlines during the campaign to accommodate international and stateside deliveries. Cards returned by Nov. 6 were delivered internationally to active service members or to veterans at the VAMC. Those returned by Dec. 6 will go to those serving stateside or to veterans at the VAMC. Cards returned between Dec. 7-17 will only be delivered to the VAMC.

While some would-be participants might worry about what to write, Children’s Associate and “Cards for a Cause” coordinator Tammie Foster encourages them not to. “A simple sentence of appreciation or greeting with a signature can mean a lot,” she says. Foster does ask that participants not give their full names or addresses, though.

As far as the type of card, all styles are encouraged. A variety of winter holidays are always represented and the decorations themselves range from pencil sketches to artistic renderings to standard purchased cards. “All kinds of cards are well received,” assured Foster.

While “Cards for a Cause” has faced some additional challenges this year due to supply shortages, the heart of the project is still going strong. “Whether we send 4,000 cards or 400 cards, we are still able to put a few cards in the hands of our service members and veterans for the holidays to let them know they are appreciated,” said Foster. “During RPL’s Operation Gratitude program in November, N.C. Coast Guard Recruiter Travis Halling and Mrs. North Carolina Sara Ferra shared the importance of gratitude in serving in the military. It is my hope each year that we send out cards that it made the recipient smile and think ‘I do matter.’”

“Cards for a Cause” began in 2015 and collected approximately 230 cards for active service members of the United States Armed Forces. In 2016, more than 800 were collected, and cards were also submitted addressed to veterans, so in 2017, the campaign expanded to add the VAMC as a delivery designation and collected over 1,300 cards. In 2018, that total grew by 100, and then in 2019, the National Guard was added and 2,165 cards were sent. The initial goal for 2020 was 3,000 cards.

Foster found a great deal of inspiration in knowing that 2020’s campaign yielded 4,444 cards and hopes to distribute 4,000 this year. For more information about how to participate and help “Cards for a Cause” meet its goal for 2021, email Tammie.Foster@rowancountync.gov.

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