Carly Carver, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
The Boyd County Public Library recently completed another successful year of sending hundreds of Valentine’s Day cards to deployed service members overseas.
The Boyd County Public Library has been crafting and creating since January 1 for the 15th Annual Hands That Touch a Heart program, which invites members of the community to create Valentine’s Day cards to send to members of the United States Armed Forces serving abroad, veterans, as well as local residents of nursing homes. The program has already shipped out 650 Valentine’s Day cards to service members overseas and finished up all remaining Valentine’s Day cards on Saturday to disburse to local nursing homes.
Ben Nunley, the Public Services Manager with the library, said that the library is ecstatic to see the community’s response to the program.
“We get a lot of help from kids making cards through groups like the Ashland Child Development Center, and afterschool programs at Crabbe, Hager, Poage, and Catlettsburg Elementary Schools,” said Nunley.
Nunley said that each year since it’s launch in 2005, the library has strived to expand the program.
“Everyone likes to be remembered and appreciated especially during holidays,” said Nunley. “Active military are often away from their families, so I think it helps them to get something from home. I think it being an unexpected surprise makes it all the better.”
Nunley said the Boyd County Public Library utilizes an organization called Hugs for Soldiers to disburse the cards to deployed service members. Hugs for Soldiers, an organization founded in 2003, is an extension of Duluth First United Methodist Church in Duluth, GA.
“Our program is dedicated to offering comforts from home and brightening a soldier’s day with a care package, card, or letter of encouragement,” according to the organization.
The Hugs for Soldiers program collects Valentine’s Day Cards each year in January to send overseas, with the mission of connecting “hearts at home with hearts overseas,” according to the organization. Hugs for Soldiers does not distribute names or addresses of service members due to privacy and security reasons.
“Veterans have served and devoted part of their lives in service to the country and I think it’s important to show them appreciation whenever we can,” said Nunley. “The kids learn to care about others during the process too.”
Last year the Boyd County Public Library collected over 1,400 Valentine’s Day cards to distribute throughout Boyd County nursing homes and senior centers, the veteran’s hospital, as well as patrons of their Homebound Library Program.
The guidelines for cards with Hugs for Soldiers requires the cards to be a size of 8.5 inches by 11 inches, with no glitter. School, church, or organization names and addresses are encouraged so the military member may write back. For a complete list of guidelines and additional information on Hugs for Soldiers, visit hugsforsoliders.org/valentine-cards.
Nunley said the Boyd County Public Library is always gearing up for something new and exciting, with the next big project right around the corner. The library’s Summer Reading Program will release sign-ups in May, with a start date of June 1.
“The kids read almost two million minutes last year,” said Nunley. “We will have several cool programs coming up.”
To stay up to date with the Boyd County Public Library follow them on social media at https://www.facebook.com/Boydlibrary%20/ or on their website at http://thebookplace.org/.