Each year, Laura Landerman-Garber collects tens of thousands of holiday greeting cards and mails them to service members around the world.
“I don’t want our troops to be forgotten,” she said.
And if you thought a global pandemic would stop Landerman-Garber, of Hollis, think again.
“Several people have said to me you know maybe this isn’t the year to do it. And you know my response is going to be, ‘Yeah, no.’ That’s not going to happen,” she said.
Landerman-Garber has become known locally and nationally for her nonprofit, Holiday Cards for Our Military Challenge.
“I think in my DNA there is something that says nobody should have to be alone,” she said.
For almost two decades, she’s been collecting written greetings to send to troops around the holidays. Last year, 175,000 cards went out from more than 40 states.
“It will make their day. It will make their season,” she said.
This year Landerman-Garber’s home is already filling up. She’s gotten 10,000 cards so far, but amid coronavirus concerns, she doesn’t know how many more will come. She can’t go to games, camps and fairs to collect them like usual, but people can still stop by to get a box of cards to sign.
“They sit for 48 to 72 hours, then somebody can come pick them up or there’s a touch-free drop box,” she said.
It’s a new way of connecting with those in uniform, but that message and generosity will never change.
“If you have hope, then you can have resilience. If you’re resilient, then you can move forward, and that’s what drives me is that those men and women can do exactly that with a card. It’s in their hand. It’s tangible,” she said.
And through the “Cards 2 Connect” program, Landerman-Garber has also teamed up with Sen. Maggie Hassan to deliver cards to New Hampshire veterans during the pandemic.