A warm, meaningful thought can make all the difference to someone who’s a world away or can’t enjoy the holidays because they’ve made a commitment to serve the country.

The Holiday Mail for Heroes program has allowed people to reach out to members of the United States military, both those veterans who have served the nation and those who are currently serving. The deadline for sending out the cards is Friday.

“The Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign is a great way to thank our service men and women for their support and dedication to our country,” said Kari Cheeseman, American Red Cross Aiken Area Chapter, office manager.

The cards are welcomed, and their impact is global, as they are delivered to military families and to active-duty service members at hospitals and installations.

The cards that are received will be processed by Pitney Bowes Inc., which scans the cards for safety and security reasons to screen for hazardous materials, and then Red Cross Volunteers do their part by sorting the keepsakes and delivering them to veterans hospitals, veterans organizations both stateside and overseas.

Those wishing to send their cards should follow these criteria, and there’s no guarantee that cards postmarked after Friday will reach their destination on time. Those wishing to participate in the campaign should send only cards, and sign them. Submissions should use generic salutations, such as “Dear Service Member.” So not include email addresses, home addresses, inserts or photos. Cards with glitter or with loose glitter will not be accepted. Those interested in sending large bundles of cards should bundle them and place them in a large mailing envelope or flat rate postal shipping box.

The greeting should be addressed to Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456.