BRADYVILLE — One million cards, handmade for U.S. service personnel to write home on, is not something Operation Write Home’s organizers ever dreamed would occur this soon when the organization formed in 2007.
But on May 13th, 2011, that happened. One of the 6,000 crafters in the United States-wide volunteer network, made the last delicate snip, colored in an image, and tied a tiny knot with ribbon on the millionth homemade card.
Operation Write Home is a grassroots non-profit organization that connects patriotic papercrafters with deployed heroes who like to write home to their loved ones.
“Our mission is to make sure deployed American service members have a steady supply of blank handmade greeting cards to help them keep in touch with home,” said Linda Goldberg of Bradyville, an OWH Board Member.
OWH began when an avid craft hobbyist, Sandy Allnock, in Washington State and a small group of passionate card crafters met deployed service personnel on a message board and discussed sharing their creations. Allnock began coordinating shipments of cards out of her living room.
The organization has grown since then, supplying 486,000 cards in 2010, and has a total in-kind budget of $1 million of donated cards, postage funds, and other in-kind contributions.
Popularity among the deployed has grown, as well; says one Soldier serving in Iraq, “The amount of joy that the Soldier has in picking the card and writing the letter is matched or exceeded by the lucky recipient of that card.”
The group won a $25,000 grant from Jo-Ann Craft Stores, has been “challenge-matched” with cookies sent along with cards by the Archway Cookies Company, and manages a Facebook site with thousands of fans who exchange cardmaking ideas, hear feedback from recipients of cards, and share patriotic inspiration to motivate the group. “Not only do we know we’re providing a necessary service,” said Allnock, “but we are all like a big family. We’re doing something good – and having fun at it too.”
There’s been some small fanfare for the millionth card. But the organization prides itself on keeping to its mission rather than seeking fame and fortune. But would Allnock mind a bit of notoriety for the 1 millionth card? “Sure,” she said. “It will help us find more crafters, so next year we can send even more cards!
Goldberg and her husband moved to Tennessee from New Jersey in 2010 after retiring to be near three of their grandchildren. She is a retired Church Secretary. Linda is a four year survivor of breast cancer.
Her hobbies are cardmaking, scrapbooking, reading, and gardening. She started making cards back when OWH was known as Cards for Heroes.
Golderg says it has been her pleasure and privilege to make cards for OWH and she is honored to be able to be a part of the Board for Operation Write Home.
Annual review: http://operationwritehome.org/ar