Show your appreciation and love for Canadian veterans this Valentine’s Day by creating unique and hand-made valentines as part of Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) Valentines for Vets initiative.
Valentines for Vets has been around for several decades now, and although it is currently under VAC, it originated in 1989 by newspaper columnist Ann Landers. Landers encouraged her readers to create special valentines for veterans in facilities in the United States and Canada. She wrote a column every year around February 14th to encourage participation.
In 1996, VAC became involved with the program and has overseen it ever since.
Last year, VAC distributed more than 17,000 valentines to just over six thousand veterans at 1,453 long-term care facilities.
Prep work starts weeks prior as Kathy Arbing, Manager of Commemoration and Distribution Unit of VAC, and her team reach out to educators and members of the public to encourage participation. They must then sort them and filter them to ensure they contain a positive message.
The team then begins mailing out cards out at the end of January.
Currently, says Arbing, the facility is receiving valentines on a daily basis, some lighthearted and some more thoughtful and personal.
“It’s really incredible how many go out in that short time period,” said Arbing.
Even though the deadline to get valentines in is Feb. 1, Arbing says they accept cards and letters well after the deadline. Extra valentines from this year are the first ones mailed out the following year.
Working as part of this initiative for many years know, Arbing says for her the best part is to see all the hand-crafted valentines made by kids and adults and to “hear from the facilitators that the valentines brought a smile to the veterans face or brightened their day.”
After all, receiving words of appreciation can make all the difference for Canada’s veterans.
“The words and thanks and appreciation on the cards are just a special way to tell the veterans that they are remembered, and their service is appreciated,” said Arbing.
The deadline to send in your Valentines for Vets is Feb. 1. Valentines must be sent to the Head Office of the Commemoration and Distribution Unit. For more information, such as the address visit the VAC website.