A recent Saturday found 10 women at Sea View Senior Living Community in Harbor sorting greeting cards — birthday, Christmas, get well cards — to send to U.S soldiers overseas.
It’s part of the Brookings-Harbor Red Shirts monthly endeavor to send packages to military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, among other war-torn areas of the world. They’ve been doing it for seven years.
Many of the cards comes from Pelican Bay Prison in Crescent City, from boxes undeliverable to prisoners there.
“It’s kind of neat that we get stuff from them: paper, pencils, stamps, backpacks — quite a few things,” said Sharon Hitzman of the Red Shirts. “Every few months, we’ll get four or five of the bigger post office boxes full of stuff.”
Those cards add up; with the Red Shirts receiving between 400 and 500 every three months.
The stamps they get from the prison are often used to pay postage for the packages they send to Iraq, Afghanistan and other war-torn lands — and often cover the entire surface of a box, Hitzman said.
The group at Sea View only made it through about half of the cards in three hours last week — and that was just sorting them into their appropriate categories. Next, they’ll have to match cards to envelope sizes.
The cards are then distributed to various military-oriented organizations in the area to send to soldiers overseas so they have greeting cards to send to others.
The Red Shirts don’t just send cards, however.
“Anything that’s fun for them, we try to send,” Hitzman said. It can include snacks, misting bottles with fans, whatever we think they’ll enjoy.”
To date, the organization has sent 6,082 boxes of items.
“I just got an email from a group we sent to four Marines,” she said. “They’re out in the boonies, live in a tent. They thanked us a lot, and said they were very happy with the squirt guns we sent them in July.”