Penn Serves LA Sending Holiday Warmth to Our Troops

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

Do you remember receiving that handwritten or hand crafted card and feeling special?  That is exactly the sentiment Penn Serves volunteers hope to give to our troops serving overseas or those healing in hospitals this holiday season.

On November 17th, Penn Serves LA hosted a holiday card signing at the Los Angeles American Red Cross headquarters.  Every holiday season, the Red Cross hosts “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program where they organize volunteers to share their seasonal joy through greetings for veterans, military families and active duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world.

Penn volunteers received a special treat of their own, experiencing the Central Command room located at LA’s Red Cross facility.  The room is specifically designed to coordinate communications in case of a crisis, disaster, or other emergency.

Penn Alumni learn about Red Cross in LA's coveted Central Command Room.

Penn Alumni learn about Red Cross in LA’s coveted Central Command Room.

This holiday card signing event set a Penn Serves attendance record drawing more than 70 participants – alumni, children and relatives.  Proudly displaying the red and blue, Penn Serves’ participants put their Quaker creativity to work and designed cards and shared messages with our nation’s veterans. Glue sticks, scissors, stickers and markers provided both young and old the opportunity to draw and create fanciful cards.  For those who were challenged by the arts and crafts, Penn Serves LA cards were available to share inspiring messages with the troops through the written word — wishing a happy and peaceful holiday season. The cards provide a welcome Penn Serves LA “touch of home” for our troops during the holiday season.

“Seeing our generous Penn alums and their families so involved in supporting our troops really put us in the holiday spirit.  Thanks to everyone for helping the American Red Cross make a difference and fulfill its mission,” shares Jeff Sakaguchi, WG’89.  Jeff has been actively involved with the Red Cross, serving as a board member and past Chairman of the Los Angeles Region.

“It is great to see the Penn Serves’ momentum grow with insightful events. We look forward to seeing new faces at future events,” said Denise Winner, W’83, co-founder of Penn Serves LA, who organized this event.

“I know how important these cards, these words, can be to these guys,” shares Mark Lipis, W’70, a military veteran and Wharton graduate.  “I definitely wanted to be here today.”

Hard at Work, volunteers create joy through art and words.

Hard at Work, volunteers create joy through art and words.

Penn Alumni, Parents and children enjoyed sharing holiday uplifting messages for our troops.

Penn Alumni, Parents and children enjoyed sharing holiday uplifting messages for our troops.

All alumni, Penn Families and their children are invited to the next event on Friday, December 13th for The Giving Spirit.  At that event, Penn Serves will be assisting The Giving Spirit, an organization serving the homeless of Los Angeles through programs like distributing survival kits, in a critical time-sensitive mission as their supplies arrive for the holidays. Click here to sign up for this very special holiday event.

If you want to hear about more past and future events, either visit our website, like us on Facebook, or ask to be put on our mailing list by emailing

Read about our past events:

August and September, 2013 – Serving the Environment and LA Leadership Academy

May, 2013 – One on One Outreach

March, 2013 – Habitat for Humanity

January, 2013 – Inner City Arts

September, 2012 – The Midnight Mission

June, 2012 – Turning Point Shelter


1 Comment

Filed under Alumni Programming, Kiera R., Los Angeles, Penn Clubs, Penn Serves LA, Photos, Volunteering, West Coast Regional Office

One response to “Penn Serves LA Sending Holiday Warmth to Our Troops

  1. Pingback: Penn Serves LA: Holidays are a Time for Giving | Frankly Penn

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