Fundraiser started to connect with military personnel

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By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

In an effort to lift spirits both at home and abroad, the military support organization known as the Heartillery Group has started a card-writing campaign for those on the front lines of this pandemic.

Known as Operation Can-Do, the project was launched shortly after “stay at home” orders were issued and businesses closed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Emily Spencer, the founder and executive director of the organization, spoke on the campaign and its goals, which entails writing letters or making cards for military personnel serving at home and abroad.

Where did this idea for this project come from?

I had the idea to do this very special project when the news broke that there would be a nationwide quarantine or a “shelter in place” order. Operation Can-Do is meant to bring families together in service to our mobilized military first responders here in the US and those performing military exercises overseas. We wanted to provide a fun, easy project to ease the stress of the COVID blues. This project is a wonderful and easy thing to do with your families that makes a huge impact.

What should the cards read?

We ask and encourage cards to have positive messages. Cards should start with a generic greeting such as “Dear Service Member,” and have a nice sentiment inside such as, “Thank you for your service,” “Thank you for keeping us safe,” or “We appreciate you and grateful for your service especially in these difficult times.”

When is the deadline?

We want to receive all cards by June 30 and asking families to send along $20 with their box to help us with shipping costs. Each large flat rate box which holds 350 cards. We ask for senders to include their city and state for soldiers to know where they came from. Please do not include return address information. Or, they can go to our GoFund Page to donate to the campaign. Any contribution makes a tremendous impact. https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/heartillery-times-like-these?fbclid=IwAR337Qr893813G2c67toj0NcJfLVt-MOaBk9brI0737ZN43ZbS8rNRPve-w

How many have we received?

We are receiving cards everyday. We are confident and doing our best going out to hit our goal to collect, pack and ship 500,000 cards by June 30.

Have you seen any other organization doing similar efforts?

There are a few other organizations out there that send cards overseas. This project is a very special one to me and is very similar to our annual Mission Holiday Card Drive. We want to continue to do something fun, easy and for a great cause. Both the families participating in creating these cards for Operation Can-Do and the soldiers who receive them are benefiting from this project.

There is always an opportunity to share and show gratitude for our servicemen and women and during times like this, under quarantine, it is perhaps one of the best times to devote a couple minutes to make a positive impact. Our goal is give both our soldiers and family hope through Operation Can-Do. It is important to remind soldiers who are far away and even close to home who can’t see their families, they are not alone. There are so many of us that truly appreciate their work, the sacrifice and these cards are a simple, small act of kindness to express our gratitude. 

For more information please go to our website https://heartillerygroup.org.