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“Seniors for Soldiers” Holiday Card Campaign Resonates in Local Community

Caring Hearts of Elgin Sends Holiday Cards to the Military

The holiday season is the most joyous time of the year for many Americans. But, for some of our country’s military service members, the reality of the holiday season is much different. Living far from their families, these heroes sacrifice their holiday season to fight for our freedom. It can be a lonely and sad time for many of our servicemen and women.  So, Kathy Petrick and her team from Caring Hearts of Elgin, IL, decided to send a little bit of yuletide cheer to brighten up the holiday season for our soldiers.

The idea came from Kathy’s Care Manager, Pat Litche, whose 24-year-old son was tragically killed in Iraq a few years ago. Since then, Pat has been adopting soldiers without families and serving as a military pen pal. As an outlet for dealing with the grief of losing her son, helping members of our military feel less lonely became Pat’s personal mission. Kathy Petrick, the owner of Caring Hearts of Elgin, wanted to participate in this mission and started the “Seniors for Soldiers” Christmas Card Campaign.

A Community Comes Together

With the help of organizations like Wounded WarriorsSoldiers’ Angels, and, the Caring Hearts team gathered names and addresses of hundreds of military service members. Then, they reached out to nearby churches in their community. 11 churches in total participated – posting the information in the Sunday bulletin and hosting card-signing events. Senior citizens from all over the community volunteered their time to attend these card-signing events and write personal messages on these holiday cards. Some seniors spent many hours writing cards to our service members, sending messages of encouragement and appreciation for all they have given up for our country.

The Caring Hearts team was shocked to find that not only were so many willing to participate, but churches in surrounding areas were reaching out to see how they could get on board with this mission. But the biggest surprise to Kathy’s team was how many seniors wanted to take part. Why was the attendance so high? Perhaps because of their personal experience with war and dealing with lost loved ones. Maybe it is because seniors oftentimes also feel lonely during the holidays. It could be that they had the time to devote to writing the cards and just wanted to make a difference to someone. Whatever the reason, the campaign resonated with the senior community in Elgin.

Since early November, over 1,000 cards have been sent to our soldiers! Almost all of the cards are sent overseas to Afghanistan and Iraq and the rest are mailed to Fort Hood for injured soldiers or veterans.

Our Soldiers are Not Forgotten

Our mission with this campaign was to make Christmas Day a little easier for our military. We wanted to let them know that they are loved, appreciated and are not forgotten. It is important to recognize all that the soldiers give up for us so that we can enjoy our holiday season. 

—Kathy Petrick, owner of Caring Hearts Elgin County

The success of this campaign took on a life of its own and gained a tremendous amount of momentum in the community. Kathy and her team are planning to make this an annual campaign, making a difference in the lives of our soldiers every holiday season!

Do you know a soldier who is spending the holidays away from loved ones? Email their name and address to and we will mail them a Christmas card!


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