The simple act of sending a loved one a birthday card can be hard for Australian troops stationed overseas.
They can’t exactly stroll down to the shop and pick one up.
When Bomaderry resident Denise Macken heard about how the troops struggled to send a greeting card of any kind back home to their loved ones she acted.
Mrs Macken formed Cards from the Heart and with a help of volunteers started making cards.
Thousands of handmade cards, since 2099, from the Shoalhaven have boosted the morale of troops overseas.
She was told at at any given time 2500 Australian navy, army and air force personnel were deployed in hotspots around the world.
“They are away for months at a time from their families and loved ones,” Mrs Macken said.
“That makes a lot of husbands, wives and children separated for a long time and that is why Cards from the Heart was formed.
“I decided with 11 others that we would make cards to send to the troops for them to send back home to their families to keep in touch.”
Many parents, sisters brothers and children have all been sent a greeting from Cards from the Heart.
Like many groups Cards from the Heart is at a crossroads.
“So when November 2017 comes around we hope to keep going,” Mrs Macken said.
“Of the 12 card makers only three are still going but we managed to churn 2465 cards and they are still needed.
“Old age, sickness and death has taken its toll among my card makers.”
Mrs Maken is struggling as well.
“I really need help. I need new card makers and I really need someone to take over with a new working unit,” she said.
She has loads of materials to make cards.
“As our numbers fell everyone donated their stuff to me and so I have a garage full of stuff to make cards,” she said.
“I would be happy for someone to restart the group in my garage.
“I can’t see myself dropping the lot - it’s too badly needed to keep up the morale of military.
“I want them to know they are appreciated for the job they do and the sacrifices they and their family make.”
Mrs Macken, if you can be helped, can be contacted on 0403 520 869.
She has a nice scrapbook full of thank-you notes and clippings from the South Coast Register and Nowra News.
One from the Combat Support Unit Middle East Unit is heartwarming.
In the letter the Cards from the Heart are thanked for giving the troops chance to communicate with loved ones during the festive season.
“It is indeed hard to be away from family and friends at this time of year, however, with our mates around us and the support of the Australian public, such as yours, it makes the time pass a little faster to getting back home.”
Mrs Macken said the need to help military personnel overseas is still great.