Christmas wishes headed a world away

Legion hoping to spread some Christmas cheer to Canada’s troops overseas

  • Nov. 29, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Secretary/manager Elke Bewick of the Summerland branch of the Royal Canadian Legion holds one of the Christmas cards being sent to members of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan this year. Anyone wanting to send a card must drop it off at the Rosedale Avenue office before Tuesday.

Dear soldiers: Thank you, and merry Christmas. Love, Canada.

It doesn’t take much, but it can mean the world to those more than 9,000 kilometres from home.

The Royal Canadian Legion in Summerland is inviting Okanagan residents to offer their season’s greetings to members of the Canadian Forces currently serving in Afghanistan.

John Dorn, Branch No. 22 president, said the Legion has organized the project for a couple of years now, and received as many as 125 cards destined for soldiers last year.

“I can only imagine that being in a foreign country, not being able to spend the day with your family and loved ones, it’s nice to get some sort of reminder from home. The fact that there’s members of the population that appreciate that you’re serving over there is probably quite meaningful to them,” he said.

“I can’t imagine that they’d be getting too many presents over there.”

The process is simple: Christmas cards addressed on the envelope “To any Canadian soldier” can be dropped off at the Legion Hall at 14205 Rosedale Ave. in Summerland anytime before Tuesday, Dec. 6. The cards will be forwarded in bulk to the Armed Forces in Belleville, Ont., for delivery to Kabul.

Dorn said the Legion wanted to simplify the process and provide a cost-free alternative for Canadians to support their troops. While Canada’s Morale Mail is designed to send care packages to specific members and Department of National Defence employees for free, mail destined for any Canadian Forces member is not eligible for Canada Post’s free letter mail program.

But the Legion’s program allows residents to save their stamps: postage is unnecessary, as the Legion will send all the Christmas cards in one package to the base in Ontario, before heading overseas.

Personal notes in the cards are encouraged. People are welcome to thank soldiers for their service to Canada and those abroad or offer other words of encouragement, and residents are encouraged to sign their names.

“We are told that the troops specifically seem to like the ones hand-crafted by children,” Dorn said, adding that children are also welcome to get creative. “Basically anything that fits in an envelope.”

For information, call the Legion at 250-494-2301.


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