By Nicole Heubusch
Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association and The Community Roundtable will be hosting the Seventh Annual Holiday Cards for Troops event on Saturday, October 4. It will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Center Place located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B in Brandon, and everyone in the community is welcome to come and show their support for the troops by making hand-made Holiday cards. The cards will be decorated on the front, and blank on the inside and then sent to deployed service members. When the soldiers receive them, they will be able to write a sentiment on the inside of the card to their loved ones.
Many of our service men and women are not near a store to be able to go out and purchase cards, so this makes our event even more important to them. Individuals bringing a group of eight or more are asked to please RSVP. This event is free for everyone ages 16 and up. There will be an additional Holiday Cards for Troops Kid’s Night on Wednesday, October 8 from 6-8 p.m. for kids ages 8-15. That night kids will be making thank you cards for troops.
Cards for Troops was founded in 2009 when a former Army soldier and Stampin’ Up consultant Jeri Fontana started stamping cards at Starbucks to send to deployed troops to send a hand-written note home. Former Honorary Mayor Tammy Holmberg embraced the effort to help it grow and reach a new level of thousands of cards each year. The event is now hosted at Center Place and is a community-wide effort.
We set up 15 tables and 15 different hand-made cards will be completed, with step by step instructions. We can seat up to 120 people at a time. Most people come and spend a few hours helping out. You do not have to be here for the complete day,” said Dawn Galia, Executive Director of Center Place.
“When we decided to hold a Cards for Troops event each year, it was a natural for me to get involved. ‘Military life’ is in my blood. I believe in giving back to the community that has been so good to me and my family and it makes me so happy to know that we are making our deployed troops smile when they receive these boxes of cards,” said Susan Saunders a Stampin Up! demonstrator.
Donations are welcome to help with the cost of supplies and postage and are accepted at the door. The total cost of supplies is over $2,800 so any little bit helps. There will be snacks provided, as well as raffle items. Businesses can help sponsor this event by making donations, donating a raffle item, or providing food for the volunteers. All donations over $100 will have a label with the company name on the back of 100 cards. The company’s logo will also be displayed on all flyers and posters.
All contributions are a 501(c)(3) tax deduction. Individuals interested in donating can contact Galia at Center Place by calling 685-8888 or e-mailing cpfinearts@ verizon.net or visiting www.centerplacebrandon.org and hitting the “donate” button.
Last year, there were over 2,800 cards created for our troops. If you know someone stationed overseas, e-mail Galia their address and they will receive a package of cards to distribute to their unit. You do not have to attend the event in order for your soldier to receive cards.