Published December 18, 2019

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD —Wing Road resident Lauri Priestley and her family have been collecting holiday cards and donating them to veterans and soldiers serving overseas for the past five years.

That tradition continues this holiday season.

Priestley, along with the Centre Club and Lynnfield High School’s Interact Club, donated 300 cards to veterans living at the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea this year. She also mailed 350 cards to every veteran staying at the New England Center and Home for Veterans in Boston.

“It’s a great way to help bring some holiday cheer to our veterans and soldiers,” said Priestley. “I take both Christmas cards and Hanukkah cards. I mail them up until the day before Christmas.”

WING ROAD resident Ariel Priestley signs holiday cards that will be donated to veterans and soldiers this holiday season. Ariel’s mother, Lauri, started the fundraiser five years ago. (Courtesy Photo)

Priestley said she, Centre Club and Interact Club members write personal notes in the cards in order to bring smiles to soldiers’ and veterans’ faces.

“We always write thank you for your service,” said Priestley. “I really enjoy the cards that have personal notes written by schoolchildren. They are so cute. It’s a great way to get families involved.”

In addition to donating holiday cards to both the Soldiers Home and the New England Center and Home for Veterans, Priestley is also looking to mail cards to members of the armed forces serving overseas or who are staying at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

“It’s important to thank them for their service,” said Priestley.

Priestley has collected 1,000 cards this year. If residents are interested in donating holiday cards, they should drop them off at Priestley’s 3 Wing Rd. home. Residents should place the cards in bags in order to protect them from Mother Nature.

“I got a big response from Facebook,” said Priestley. “A lot of people who are bringing cards this year signed them. It has been wonderful.”

While residents are encouraged to write notes inside, Priestley asked townspeople not to seal the cards. She also encouraged residents to let her know who donated the cards so she can thank them.

Priestley said she and her husband Bob pay to have the cards mailed. She will be storing any unused cards at her home. She will also be buying Christmas and Hanukkah cards after the holidays in preparation for next year.

“It’s a great cause,” said Priestley.