Holiday card challenge underway

Courtesy photo U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., right, gives Laura Landerman-Garber her full support for the ‘2018 Holiday Cards 4 Our Military-NH’ Challenge.

HOLLIS – Although it’s only June, Hollis resident Laura Landerman-Garber has the holidays on her mind, as she is collecting greeting cards for the military again this year.

After last year’s success of collecting 17,000 cards in six weeks for U.S. Navy sailors, she decided to expand this year’s collection to include all five branches of the military.

“I officially became a nonprofit last month,” Landerman-Garber said. “It’s exciting, and will help with some of the costs involved.”

Last year her family tradition of writing holiday cards turned to a personal mission to collect 5,000 cards, but she went well over that goal. Now, after turning that mission into a nonprofit, “Holiday Cards 4 Our Military-NH Challenge,” she aims to collect at least 5,000 cards for each branch of the military.

She’s already been contacting local businesses to see if they’d like to act as a drop-off location for the holiday cards, and also has a board of directors for the nonprofit.

“Last month I met with (New Hampshire) Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut, and have support from him and Gov. (Chris) Sununu,” Landerman-Garber said.

She said the commissioner is going to put together a communications package to send out to every school in the state so that they can prepare in June, July and August. When September comes along, they can send out invitations to all schools to become a part of this statewide project.

“We would like for all students in the state to learn about the military, patriotism and you know, give back,” Landerman-Garber said. “We all love it because it’s nonpartisan. There’s no politics. It’s tangible and it’s being appreciative and patriotic, and that I think, is something really exciting.”

She said two weeks ago, she met with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in Washington, D.C. During her time there, she also met with U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, both D-N.H.

“Shaheen’s office staff is going to do this, as well, this summer and I met with every single branch of the military,” Landerman-Garber said. “I’m on it. It’s a mission, and I’m very passionate about it.”

She met with representatives of each military branch: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Landerman-Garber secured contact information, so when October rolls around, she’ll know where to send the cards. After she more than tripled last year’s goal, she said this time she wants to send out 5,000 cards to each branch and spread the love and holiday cheer.

Right now, she is looking to secure drop off sites for the summer. Participants so far include:

 Hollis Pharmacy at Six Ash St., Hollis,

 Wild Salamander Creative Arts Center at 30 Ash St., Hollis, and

 Martha’s Exchange at 185 Main St., Nashua.

They will be set up and ready to go by early next week, she said. At those three sites, cards will be available to sign, or people can take them home to write out their letters and return them.

“The only thing I ask on the cards is to write to ‘Dear Warrior,’ because it’s not just sailors this year – it covers everybody,” Landerman-Garber said.

Also, when people sign their cards, she asks that they put only their first name, city and state. She wants to have all the cards collected and ready to be mailed out by the end of October. The cards will then arrive before the December holidays.

“The message is that, this is something we can all do,” Landerman-Garber said. “It’s nonpartisan, teaches wonderful lessons, feels good and it’s a community effort.”

Those who have questions or would like to donate toward the project can do so by emailing Landerman-Garber at, HolidayCardsNH@gmail.com. There is also a Facebook page at, https://www.facebook.com/groups/HolidayCardChallenge/.

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