Hollis woman exceeds her original holiday card goal

10,000 cards being shipped from Hollis to Navy sailors

HOLLIS – Laura Landerman-Garber set a goal for herself and her community to put together 5,000 holiday greeting cards to send to U.S. Navy sailors, and she has been shocked by the tremendous outpouring.

The idea sparked in her mind after a decade-old family tradition became personal. It then ignited in the community, spreading like wildfire with different organizations, businesses and residents reaching out to her in support.

Now, on the weekend after Thanksgiving, she has collected 10,000-plus cards, doubling her initial goal, leaving her with even more to be grateful for this year.

“I want to thank the community. It’s been a call to action with a true, inspirational response.

The bottom line is that I want to thank the military. They’re the ones fighting for our freedom to be able to do all of this,” Landerman-Garber said.

She’s read through many of the cards she’s received and said she’s not the type of person to be speechless, but was as a result of the outpouring of community support she’s received.

She said every school in Hollis and Brookline, as well as eight other local schools, helped make cards. Aside from school-aged children pitching in, she said VFW’s, Boy and Girl scouts, Synagogues, dance studios and the Rotary Club all helped write cards.

Politicians also got involved with writing cards, including Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, Gov. Chris Sununu, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster.

Over the course of six weeks, Landerman-Garber’s initiative went from a community conversation to a community-wide effort, calling all walks of life to action.

“One little girl in Hollis wrote, ‘Dear Sailor, are you lonely? I’m lonely, and when someone loves me I feel less lonely. Can I love you? Stay safe.’ She was 8-years-old,” Landerman-Garber said.

She also said one little boy wrote asking a sailor if the ship they were on was a pirate ship, drawing an elaborate picture of a pirate ship on the card.

“A veteran from the Vietnam War has a framed card he got from a child and has no idea who it’s from. This card challenge reminded him of being out there fighting and the impact something small like this can make,” Landerman-Garber said.

She said she feels inspired, energized and humbled by all the support and cards she’s received, and may be looking to do this again in the future. She said she may look to pick a different branch of the military next time.

Next Saturday, she said she hopes to mail out the cards with some local businesses’ financial support.

“I’m so incredibly moved by this, and I will cherish it,” Landerman-Garber said.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.