Everyday Heroes

Woman Turns Sending Holiday Cards Into an Epic Event

Her group will send 100,000 cards to our troops this year! How you can get involved.

A grandmother in Hollis, New Hampshire has been working around the clock to make sure U.S. troops stationed overseas get a little bit of cheer this holiday season.

Laura Landerman-Garber started her card writing project on Thanksgiving 16 years ago. She wouldn't serve the meal until her family members had all written cards to military members what she called the "ticket to turkey."

In 2016, when a friend's daughter joined the Navy and was deployed overseas, Landerman-Gaber vowed to send everyone on her "ship" a card that holiday season. When she learned that there were 5,000 troops on board the aircraft carrier (not a ship!), Landerman-Gaber was a little taken aback, but she got right to work.

"I'm a grandmother now," she told CNN . "We can do this, no problem."

Along with enlisting her family members, Landerman-Gaber asked for help elsewhere in her community. Thanks to the contributions of local Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, churchgoers, politicians and basically anyone else who wanted to chip in, she collected over 15,000 cards for the troops that year (more than triple the amount of her original goal!).

Here's a clip of a few card writers in action...

In 2018, Landerman-Gaber expanded her project with the aim to send 5,000 cards to each branch of the US military. She even started the non-profit "Holiday Cards 4 Our Military NH Challenge" to help with postage costs. Once again, the grandmother on a mission smashed her goal and was able to send out almost 50,000 cards to active service members all over the world.

This year is shaping up to be the biggest one yet for the organization with Landerman-Gaber planning to ship 100,000 cards before the holidays. So far she has received cards from 30 states as well as Canada and Guam, and the messages are just as varied as you can imagine.

One card from a little girl simply states, "Dear Mike, My name is Tori and my best friend's name is Victoria. She loves you and I'm just telling you that."

That one gave Landerman-Gaber a good laugh. "Who is Mike?" she said.

Other have a more serious tone. She recalled one that reads, "Dear sailor, I'm very lonely. Are you lonely? But when somebody loves me, I feel better. How about if I love you?"

These are the cards that mean the most to Landerman-Gaber, and remind her why she started the project in the first place.

"In spite of all of the divisiveness in the country right now, in spite of all the infighting and between fighting -- I know this sounds like a Hallmark card -- I really do believe they have in their hearts to do the right things, to be kind."

If you would like to take part in this year's Holiday Card Challenge, you can visit the organization's website, Facebook page for more information, or you can send an email to HolidayCardsNH@gmail.com . They are accepting cards until December 15, 2019.

(Source: images & video Holiday Card Challenge Facebook )

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