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Cards for Soldiers
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Pam Bumbaca, 853rd Electronic Systems Group, uses her scrapbooking supplies to make a blank greeting card for Cards for Soldiers, a volunteer organization Ms. Bumbaca formed with a group of scrapbooking friends. Cards for Soldiers sends handmade blank greeting cards to deployed servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan, because servicemembers on small or remote bases are often unable to obtain greeting cards to send home to loved ones. (Courtesy photo)
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Cards for Soldiers goes blue, needs volunteers

Posted 9/23/2009   Updated 9/23/2009 Email story   Print story

    


by Meredith March
66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


9/23/2009 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- A greeting card can be the capstone of a carefully chosen gift and express sentiments across the miles. The ideal card can be difficult to select, even with a wide range of choices.

For deployed servicemembers who must send home cards which arrive in care packages or are stocked in small stores on base, card choices can be slim, even nonexistent.

Pam Bumbaca, 853rd Electronic Systems Group, became aware of the deployed card scarcity when a friend's husband, who was an Army chaplain, deployed to Iraq in 2006. Ms. Bumbaca and a group of friends who share a scrapbooking website decided to use their skills to help the Soldiers on his base. "We decided that for all occasions we would make handmade cards that were blank inside for [the Soldiers] to use to send back home to their loved ones, knowing they would not have easy access to that type of thing," Ms. Bumbaca said.

The cards were sent to Iraq and received by the chaplain who placed them in a central location where servicemembers could make their selections. The first group of cards was so well-received that a Soldier from another deployed location wrote to request cards for her platoon, Ms. Bumbaca said. "She had received one of the handmade cards from her fiancé. She wrote to me to ask if it was possible to get cards sent to her platoon as well."

The Cards for Soldiers endeavor has since expanded to include other services. More than 1000 cards have been sent to deployed Hanscom personnel, and more have been requested, Ms. Bumbaca said.

The scrapbooking group had originally included information regarding the cards on their Web site, but as demand for the cards grew and additional volunteers joined the effort, the group created a blog, www.cardsforsoldiers.blogspot.com, to disseminate holiday mailing schedules, detail how to get involved, offer guidelines and contact information for new volunteers, and feature responses from servicemembers who have received the cards, Ms. Bumbaca said. "On the blog you can see some past thank-you notes and photos if you go back through the older posts. They really do appreciate the support."

The group would also appreciate additional support from those who want to volunteer their personal time, supplies and funds for mailing.

"We need everything. Over the years we have sent thousands of cards. This is all done voluntarily and the envelopes and shipping to Iraq and Afghanistan are paid for out of our own pockets," Ms. Bumbaca said. "We accept donations toward those things. We always need cards too, because until those troops come home I want to be able to keep sending them."

For more information or to volunteer, visit the Cards for Soldiers Web site or e-mail cardsforsoldiers@gmail.com.









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