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America Supports You: Group’s Hearts Go Out to Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2007 – An Illinois-based troop support group wants servicemembers to know they have America’s hearts, literally.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Soldiers get a smile from a homemade Valentine they received in an SI Yellow Ribbon Campaign "You Have Our Hearts" package on Valentine’s Day 2006. The troop-support group will ship packages of Valentines and heart-shaped candy to troops serving overseas again this year. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“The whole theme around the ‘You Have Our Hearts’ campaign is about … showing our love and compassion for the troops overseas,” Amy Oxford, founder of SI Yellow Ribbon Campaign, said. “Every year we send over thousands of homemade Valentines from school kids and churches and even families.”

The nonprofit group is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program showcasing ways Americans support the nation’s servicemembers.

Fresh off of its fourth “Holiday Hugs to Our Heroes” campaign, the group has launched its fourth Valentine’s Day project, which it has conducted every year since its March 2003 beginning.

Oxford, her mother, Kathy, and now-6-year-old daughter, Callie, stuff boxes full of homemade heart-shaped valentines sent in from across the country and get them to troops serving overseas.

And, because Valentine’s Day is a holiday associated with sweets, of course those boxes also include candy.

“We try to do the heart theme with … the heart (shaped) suckers and the little boxes of heart chocolates and conversation hearts,” Oxford said. “We put a lot of love into those packages.”

This year, she started the drive for the Valentine’s Day mailings the day after Christmas. She hopes that thousands of Valentines and heart-shaped candy will pour in from across the country by Jan. 22. The seemingly early deadline will allow time to get the packages to the servicemembers as close to the holiday as possible.

Oxford and her small band of cupids also are hoping to receive cash donations to offset the cost of shipping 500 to 800 flat-rate boxes of goodies overseas. That’s a hefty sum at $8.10 each.

“We can definitely still use help there,” she said. “There’s always a standing need for postage.”

Oxford said her group does this just to “let (servicemembers) know everybody back here in the good old U.S. hasn’t forgotten about them, and we do love them on this Valentine’s Day.”

Information on how to make donations – goods or cash – can be found on the SI Yellow Ribbon Campaign Web site.

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Related Sites:
America Supports You
SI Yellow Ribbon Campaign

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