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URI card drive program aimed at bringing holiday cheer to troops stationed overseas

By Farah Casalini
On November 15, 2011


With the holiday season just a blink away, members of the University of Rhode Island community are determined to spread cheer not only on campus, but across the Atlantic Ocean.

In the Memorial Union, several businesses are sponsoring a card drive where anyone can fill out a card, put it in an unaddressed envelope, and drop it off in boxes throughout the union. The cards will be sent as a "season's greetings" to soldiers overseas.

Carol Stedman, student mail supervisor and one of the drive's organizers, said she wanted to get the students involved while also showing appreciation to soldiers serving overseas.

"It's a great way of saying thank you," she said.

Brenda Celona, owner of Total Image Hair Salon, agreed to the card drive because it would not only unite the students with holiday spirit, but the cause was close to her heart. Because some of her clients have family members serving overseas, she said she understands how much it would mean to her clients if their family members had a happy holiday.

"I hope people will take time out of their day to put a smile on someone's face," she said.

These businesses are also working in collaboration with URI's ROTC, who agreed to pick up the boxes on Nov. 28, address the envelopes, and send the cards to soldiers.

Maj. Chris Corbett, the ROTC's enrollment and scholarship officer, said while he doesn't know where these cards will be sent exactly, they will most likely make their way to URI alumni serving overseas.

"We're doing what we can for our alumni and soldiers to help them have a happy holiday," he said.

Card drop-off locations include Total Image Hair Salon, Rhode Island Credit Union, Ronzio Pizza, URI Optometrist, the Bookstore, URI Foundation and the Union Express Mailroom.

Stedman said that this year's card drive will be replacing the annual window decorating contest. She said she didn't know why the Union wouldn't be participating in a window decorating contest, except that it was "taking the year off."

Celona said she's providing cards in her salon for anyone to fill out free of charge, but students and faculty are welcome to buy their own cards.

In future years, Stedman said she would consider organizing a collective effort where the entire campus could get involved in a cause like this one. 

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