(Jan. 24, 2020) While special occasions are not required to offer gratitude for the sacrifices made by U.S. Armed Forces members, the Jan. 31 submission deadline is quickly approaching to participate in Caring for America’s “Valentines for Veterans” program.
Caring for America Chairperson Vera Beck said the undertaking is in its 18th year in Worcester County. More than 800 cards were collected last year, which were largely made by school children.
“We’re collecting cards from local schools to be sent to the veterans that are in the veterans’ hospitals,” she said.
Caring for America, a mission of the Republican Women of Worcester County, was established in 1999 by the National Federation of Republican Women to encourage state and local organizations to source ideas to positively impact their community.
Beck said Valentine’s Day cards will be sent to veterans at four rehabilitative medical centers, including about 220 to the Perry Point VA Medical Center and about 120 to the Baltimore VA Medical Center.
“We’re sending to Charlotte Hall Veterans Hospital about 400,” she said.
Beck said a couple hundred cards are destined for the USO Delaware in Dover to warm the hearts of veterans just returning stateside.
“Altogether, it’s probably close to 1,000 cards,” she said. “The cards are handmade from local elementary schools and businesses.”
Beck said people who lack artistic vision, in most instances adults, often purchase cards and focus on inscribing heartfelt patriotic sentiments.
After taking part in the annual endeavor for the last five years, Beck has grown to appreciate the spirit of youth.
“What I really like to see is the cards that are handmade in local schools from the children,” she said. “The artistry that comes out in these cards and the cute notes they write to the veterans are really unbelievable and beautiful.”
While girls are more likely to cut and paste hearts and boys typically sketch tanks and artillery, the common resonator among the children’s creative card ventures are sentiments of gratitude.
“It’s kind of a small way of saying to the veterans that they thank you and appreciate what they have done,” she said.
Beck said with Ocean City, Pocomoke and Showell elementary schools, Worcester Prep and Wicomico Day School participating this year about 80 percent of the Valentine’s greetings are from youths.
“Some of them are quite beautiful,” she said.
Beck also credited school instructors with organizing the efforts at various educational institutions.
While cards produced by those groups have been collected, Beck said individual submissions are still being accepted at a number of drop-off locations in Ocean Pines, including: Shamrock Realty Group, Copy Central of Ocean Pines, the Ocean Pines library and the Ocean Pines community center.
Typically, a few parents learn about the program and opt to take part prior to the deadline, Beck said.
“That sounds like a good plan I can do that with my kids,” she said.
Beck said area schools, clubs, businesses, organizations and individuals are welcome to submit cards, which do not require postage and should be addressed to “A Veteran.”
For more information, call 410-208-9390 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.