Operation Enduring Response under way

The American Red Cross Jersey Coast Chapter, Tinton Falls, has announced the agency is now participating in Operation Enduring Response, a program organized to collect letters written by American children and sent to the servicemen and women thanking them for their services.

The program was started by Debbie Michell and Shannon Smith, both of Texas, as a way to comfort their children after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The women called local schools to gather support for the program and after an overwhelming response, contacted the local Red Cross chapter for help getting the letters to the troops abroad. The program has since expanded into 20 states and more than 100 schools.

The letters are written each month on the anniversary of Sept. 11, with the first batch sent Nov. 11 to military bases around the country.

Schools and sponsors wishing to participate in the program may e-mail Maureen Buehl at Maureenb@jerseycoast-redcross.org.