Holiday Mail for Heroes

Holiday Mail for Heroes is a program that works with VA hospitals and clinics to deliver handwritten holiday cards to our nation's veterans who have to spend the holiday season in the hospital. For more information on our organization, our history, and our vision please see below:

As the calendar flips from October to November many people feel an excitement that fills the air as the holiday season unfolds upon us. During this time of year, we reflect on the gratitude and blessings this year has brought and we can re-live our fondest memories of the holiday season. For many, this time of year brings loved ones back into each other’s arms as family and friends celebrate the season. Yet, as we celebrate, many of our nation’s veterans are spending the holidays in the hospital. These heroes have made incredible sacrifices for our freedom and for the values our nation stands for – sacrifices that allow us to celebrate these holidays in comfort, warmth and the arms of loved ones.

This is the idea that started Holiday Mail for Heroes – an idea and goal to show an appreciation for the heroes of our country and remind them that they are not forgotten this holiday season. The beginnings of Holiday Mail for Heroes date back to 2010 when a group of Deerfield High School students had the idea to send holiday care packages to troops stationed overseas fighting to protect our freedom. In the months leading up to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and all our other holidays celebrated this time of year, those students rallied support throughout the community to collect donations and supplies to fill as many care packages as possible. That year the program worked tirelessly to assemble as many care packages as possible to ship overseas and continued to do so for the next several years; eventually sending hundreds of care packages filled with food, snacks, toiletries, and reminders of home to our soldiers. Then, in 2017 we wanted to expand the charitable effort to veterans here in the United States who have to spend the holiday season in the hospital. That first year, Holiday Mail for Heroes collected over 400 handwritten cards that were given to our veterans at a VA hospital near Chicago. Then last year, in 2018, we brought in volunteers to work as coordinators to expand the program beyond Illinois and into Virginia, Iowa, and Arkansas. We received cards from Deerfield, IL – the local community where all this started. We received cards from students at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. We received cards from students at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. We received cards from a local community of one of our coordinators in Little Rock, AK. We received cards from friends and co-workers and strangers alike. By mid-December, with the amazing generosity and efforts of friends, families, classmates, co-workers, and strangers, we were able to collect nearly 2,000 handwritten cards to send to our veterans in VA hospitals and clinics in Illinois, Virginia, Iowa, and Arkansas.

This year we want to continue delivering messages of gratitude to our veterans to show them that we are thinking of them this holiday season and their sacrifices are never forgotten. This year we have a goal to collect 4,000 handwritten cards to send to our veterans. Along with this, we want our veterans to not just receive a card, but a gift as well – the same way many of us are lucky enough to open presents this time of year. Therefore, this year we are also collecting donations. Any money donated will go directly towards the Holiday Mail for Heroes program in the form of gift cards purchased to include with the handwritten cards to our veterans or administrative costs to send supplies to our growing team of volunteer coordinators across the country so we can reach as many veterans as possible.

If you are interested in getting involved with Holiday Mail for Heroes there are many ways to do so. We are always looking for volunteer coordinators to expand the program to other states, communities, schools, and places of work. Other ways to get involved include writing a holiday card yourself to send to a veteran, donating to our fundraiser, or posting on social media to spread the word. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer coordinator or writing a card please visit our website at: 

We hope you have a joyous and safe holiday season filled with love and cheer and I ask you to please consider helping our program to continue to make a difference in the lives of our veterans whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude.

Happy Holidays!


Dylan DiMatteo
Executive Director
Holiday Mail for Heroes


Dylan DiMatteo
Deerfield, IL

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