Group's Letters From Home Boost Troop Morale

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2007 - Until every servicemember comes home, one dedicated group of volunteers will make sure they know they're remembered.

"Our main effort is collecting cards of support for the troops," Christine Jovenitti, founder of "Letters From Home," said. "As they tell us, it's like holding the hand of the person that wrote it."

To date, Letters From Home and its volunteers have "held the hands" of more than 30,000 servicemembers through the more than 250,000 cards and letters it has sent. Those cards and letters were accompanied by care packages containing personal, comfort and food items.

The items Letters From Home sends, including the correspondence, are donated through three collection campaigns during the year, Jovenitti said.

About 150 volunteers helped assemble packages April 29, Jovenitti said. "It is very touching to the people to see that many hands can assemble a heart of gold to send to the troops," she said.

Currently the group is collecting items for its "Raise a Flag for Freedom" campaign, which will conclude July 29, when the items are shipped off. Other drives include a summer marathon called "Operation Enjoying Freedom" that will focus on a fun letter-collecting competition for children 16 and under.

Letters From Home is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

The group has found its affiliation with America Supports You has brought it great visibility and credibility, Jovenitti said.

"The exposure of our organization on the (America Supports You) Web site has brought us nationwide cards and treats for the troops," she said. "The troops, in return, know that we are a trusted organization and that our packages are worth the wait."
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