AMANDA — A special mailbox has been placed in Amanda this week, accepting letters to be delivered to soldiers deployed around the world.

Carla Schorr, organizer of Operation Letters To Active Military, has a custom mailbox stationed at Spade’s Café in Amanda until Saturday. The mailbox will receive the letters which do not need to be stamped and forward them on to the United Service Organizations (USO) for delivery to soldiers.

“This is the third year we’ve done it,” Schorr said. “It makes visits to the schools to have students draw pictures and write letters from students kindergarten through high school.”

Schorr said she doesn’t read the letters because they’re personal but they are screened by USO before being mailed.

“I know they have a lot of support prayers and talk of coming home safe,” Schorr said. “Sometimes the kids will talk about a relative that was in the service.”

One letter Schorr did hear about was a kindergartner whose teacher approached her.

“She told me he was having a hard time with it,” Schorr said. “His dad had been deployed for about a year and he wrote to the soldier that if they knew his dad to tell them that he loved them.”

Schorr said she’s heard of pen-pals being formed out of the letters if the submitting party leaves their information.

“A lot of soldiers don’t receive a lot or anything from home,” Schorr remarked. “These get sent randomly out. We delivered the first batch to USO and they said the soldiers love them and it makes them feel good to know someone is thinking of us back home.”

Schorr said she started the program when her friend’s son enlisted. She said she’s got several members of her family including father, grandfather, uncle and brother-in-law that served in the United States Air Force.

“My best friend’s son was enlisting and she was having a hard time with him being gone,” she added. “That made me think of those soldiers that don’t have anything or anyone.”

Schorr said in total, Operation Letters has received about 8,000 in its nearly three years. The box will be at Spades until Saturday before it’ll return to Lancaster the following week and then it’s on to Chillicothe.

“It’s very overwhelming and heartwarming,” Schorr said of the letters. “When I started with this I thought maybe I’d get a handful of letters but it’s been an outpouring. The mailbox has been making its rounds. It’s heartwarming, especially now the crisis we’re in.

“The reason for this mailbox is the soldiers. They’re the reason that we’re able to get up, go to work and enjoy our lives. They deserve more than they’re getting. They’ve made the sacrifice to leave their families behind to go defend this country,” she concluded.

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