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(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) - They're holiday messages meant for a very deserving group of people.
Friday, volunteers at the Red Cross of Central Massachusetts spent the morning sifting through Christmas cards - 10,000 of them, to be exact - to be delivered to local veterans and soldiers serving overseas.
"They're redistributed to chapters to sort out, so these cards literally come from all over the U.S.," Janet Kingsbury Warren of the American Red Cross says.
This is the third year the organization is taking part in Holiday Mail for Heroes. Red Cross chapters across the country are preparing to ship out hundreds of thousands cards. Many of them are handmade by children offering special messages to the troops.
"The words I hear and see are bravery, courage, thank you, and stay safe, stay out of danger - it's nice to know even children care," Kingsbury Warren says.
"'Thank you for being so great, thank you for letting me sleep at night knowing someone is protecting me,'" volunteer Irene Chiarvalloti says, reading a card.
Chiarvalloti started volunteering with the Red Cross in 2003. She says it's important people realize there are more ways to give back to the community than just donating money, and that time is also valuable.
Helping to sort through the cards is one afternoon of work that she says will make a big difference to so many.
"This is neat because some of these guys maybe don't get a card or just get one and now they will pick up a card from a stranger and get a chuckle or nice thought," she says.
"I hope that some of the words that are in these cards can help people through what can be a difficult time of year, especially when you're away from family and friends. We want to bring hope and inspiration to those away from their loved ones right now," Marissa Crozier says.