SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - This year, Rowan Public Library's "Cards for a Cause" campaign collected over 1,300 cards to be delivered to service members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces.
This year's total well exceeds RPL's goal of 1,000 for 2017. Each RPL branch -- Headquarters (Salisbury), East (Rockwell, and South Rowan Regional (China Grove) – had stations set up for card-making and delivery, and all ages were invited to participate. As always, the collection was a collective effort, with patrons, staff, and community groups – from churches to local artists' groups – contributing. Schools, including China Grove's Millbridge Elementary and China Grove Elementary, also participated in the campaign.
The area's support for the program has not gone unnoticed. "It means a lot to them at the recruiting offices and in the military that this area – this community – is so supportive," said Tammie Foster, East Branch children's library associate and "Cards for a Cause" coordinator.
The campaign means a lot to many family and friends of service members. Foster remembers one East patron who made a card while visiting the branch: "She had a family member serving overseas and told us that it made her feel good to participate in the program," Foster recalls.
The response warms the hearts of staff members, too. "It makes me feel good seeing our patrons come in and create a card helping those who can't be home for the holidays," said Foster.
"I have been so moved by the way our community has jumped at the opportunity to spread joy and holiday cheer to service members and veterans," added Emma Rose, East Branch supervisor.
The "Cards for a Cause" program began in 2015 at the suggestion of East Branch page Holly Shue. Shue's parents are Navy veterans, and she wanted to do something for those serving away from home. That first year, approximately 230 cards were collected for USAF members, and in 2016, more than 800 cards were delivered to USAF members serving both Stateswide and internationally, with cards going as far away as Afghanistan. Cards were also submitted specifically for veterans, so this year, "Cards for a Cause" officially expanded to add the W.G. Hefner Veterans Administration Medical Center in Salisbury as a delivery designation.
"Cards for a Cause" will return next fall, so stock up on holiday cards and cheer now. "It's heartening to see the community response increasing," said Laurie Lyda, South Rowan Regional supervisor. "I'd love to see us collect even more cards in 2018."
For more information about "Cards for a Cause" or other RPL programs, visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or your nearest branch.