Operation Christmas Cards
"Loving our troops one card at a time"
Our deployed military men and women go without the comforts of home, especially the love and support of family, friends and those they are defending. It is our mission to “love our troops one card at a time” to ensure that each of our service members know they are appreciated, supported and loved by the very people they are sacrificing their lives to fight for.
On September 7, 2009, Operation Christmas Cards was officially launched on Facebook by then 23 year old Amanda Sullivan to collect cards to send to our deployed military serving overseas. The idea first came to Amanda after attending a church service at Liberty Church in which Lead Pastor Will Bard told congregants about a sick child whose only desire was to receive 1,000 get well cards, resulting in 3,500 cards brought to this child. While out on medical leave and corresponding with a number of service members overseas who received little to no mail, Amanda felt that the members of the Liberty community would favorably respond to requests for Christmas cards for the men and women serving our country.
Amanda discussed this concept with Liberty's pastoral staff and it was agreed that Operation Christmas Cards would be launched at Liberty, where all the cards would be housed and prepared for shipment. With an estimated membership at Liberty of 2,000, the initial goal was set for 10,000 cards, a number worth attempting but one that appeared more optimistic than attainable. After just three short months of being identified as a cause on Facebook, more than 87,000 cards were sent in from all over the country and the world, while the cause membership climbed over 500,000 people.
Preparation for the second season of Operation Christmas Cards began a few months into 2010, with a new target of 100,000 cards. For those that had joined the cause on Facebook, weekly bulletins went out describing how people could participate through sending cards and or donations to help cover the tremendous shipping costs. Participants took this program out into their community and asked their schools, churches, families, businesses and more to help participate. One woman from North Carolina single-handedly collected 15,000 cards for our troops. Silicone bracelets inscribed with “Operation Christmas Cards” were sold to help raise funds both online and at Liberty Church. With the help of Facebook fans and Liberty Church members, more than $4,500 was raised for shipping and nearly 140,000 cards were shipped to deployed men and women serving this country for Christmas of 2010.
With the 2011 season came some changes. Operation Christmas Cards came under the umbrella of the New England Dream Center and a corporate partnership with EK Success Brands was formed. This resulted in card crafting classes at Michaels Craft Stores and a free card making day at all AC Moore's. The goal for the season was an impressive 175,000 cards which was far and away exceeded with over 315,000 cards for our troops!!
The 2012 season is now upon us and again our goal is 175,000 cards. For us here at OCC, it is not about the amount of cards that are received, its about the amount of cards that make it into the hands of our deployed men and women. With many troops returning home now, we will continue to mail cards to those abroad, but this year we will also mail cards to those on bases here within the US. Just because some troops may be "home" on US soil does not mean that they are truly home and with their families during the holidays.
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