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Thursday, February 21, 2013


Operation Write Home Guidelines fit into three categories:

1. Safety  

No glitter. Really! 
Glitter is a safety hazard for our heroes, so no cards with any glitter that will flake off the card are accepted. Stickles or pens that apply glitter that will NOT rub off can be acceptable, but please check your cards by rubbing it on a sweater. If it flakes off, it cannot be used. Small gems are fine. Before emailing with questions, please read this post to see if it’s already answered.

2. Efficiency

A2 sized cards only, and include envelopes.
4.25″ x 5.5″ - half a sheet of cardstock – fit the boxes most economically. Two rows of A2 cards work best to get the most cards in each box….more for our heroes to write home on! You can even buy discounted envelopes as an OWH volunteer! Wondering about the change in envelope policy? Read this blog post. Stamp the backs of your cards with our name.
We stamp the backs of cards with our organization name so families know where the card came from. We need your help stamping . . . so much that we’ll send you a stamp for free!
Line cards made with dark cardstock.
If a pencil won’t show up, add a liner so your cards stay out of the hospital. One side or two sides – just make sure there’s room to write.
Limit multiples.
No more than 50 of a single design for holiday seasonal cards; no more than 100 for year-round cards. Holiday seasonal cards (when in 30+ multiples) should be sent to the shipper at least 2 weeks before the posted deadline.
Even a small quantity of cards is ok.
One card, a handful, or a box full; but please remember – our heroes are requesting quality. Your card may be the last piece of communication with a family – and remember that many scrapbook these letters. We want them to stand the test of time. Our heroes are worth our very best!
Watch the deadlines!
Observing deadlines for holiday cards ensures we can get seasonal cards to our heroes in time to mail them back home – sometimes an 8 week round trip! Squeaking in at or after deadlines may mean your cards will not ship that year. General cards can be sent at any time.
Include a packing slip.
Please include either our packing slip, or a note with the same information. Our shippers must enter your donation into our system for IRS purposes even if you don’t need an emailed receipt.

3. Specific requests by heroes and their families

Use quality supplies.
Computer paper or thin designer paper is not adequate for letterwriting when a hero might be using the sand as a “table” . . . so please use good cardstock for your card bases. Do not use foamies, ittybitty stickers, or gluesticks – they don’t hold up to the rigors of the battlefront. It’s ok to make fewer cards with better supplies – every card counts! (Children’s AnyHero cards are the exception; foamies are just fine for those!)
Some dimension is okay – and is loved.
Our heroes don’t have to pay for lettermail, but that doesn’t mean we can go wild with thick layers and embellishments. Save the big vintage buttons and deep 3D embellishments for AnyHero mail that doesn’t have to go through the postal system…we want to be sure your cards make it to their intended destination. Our heroes do comment on the tactile cards, so it’s a balance between reasonable dimension and overdoing it; please do take that into consideration.
Card themes.
Remember who’s sending these cards: adults. Please do not send cards with sentiments “to” Daddy or Mommy, no “wish you were here,” or party invitations; and no explicit images or sentiments out of respect for cultures and sensitivities. Halloween cards should be cheerful ones, not scary – lest a card with a skull end up as the final communication by a fallen hero. The best cards for our heroes’ use are actually general ones – they can customize them for any occasion by writing their note inside. See a list of themes here.
Kids must make AnyHero cards ONLY.
Most children have the “want-to” but not the “able-to” when it comes to making cards that our heroes will want to write home on. Please work with schools and scouts to create AnyHero cards in which they can write letters…our heroes love to receive those!
Absolutely no storebought cards.
Neither complete cards, NOR cards repurposing parts of them. For one, our heroes come to us for handmade cards – any storebought ones get set aside, so we no longer include them and reserve our postage costs for handmade creations. Using copyrighted material also endangers our trademark, and we are not able to risk that; use all materials that are made for crafting (no napkins, ads, brochures, catalogs, magazine photos, etc.)
No handwritten sentiments.
Some of our military wives have shared with us their instant angst when they opened a card, and the first handwriting they saw was the sentiment on the front – by another woman. *gasp* So we no longer send cards with handwritten sentiments on the outside or inside of the card, to keep even one heart from panicking. Your name on the back may be handwritten, and anything on your AnyHero cards may be handwritten.

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