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  1.    #1  
    Hi all,

    I've been blown away by the Touchnote App, which is just crazy fun. I realized something this morning -- the simple way that Touchnote works would lend itself well to sending cards to hospitals. Specifically, the idea that I had was to send cards to US veterans in the VA medical centers and veterans homes. The postcards could bring cheer to someone that needs it. I bounced the idea around on Twitter this morning, and this is the result. Thanks to James Harris (@PalmFlashCards) for giving me a prod to write something coherent in more than 140 characters. It has two parts -- one that takes advantage of sending free cards using the HP sponsored 50,000 promotion, the other a framework for future plans.

    Short term plan, using the HP promotion:
    1. Download the Touchnote app from the Palm App Catalog
    2. Start a new Postcard.
    3. Take a picture of something exciting, unique, or beautiful. For example, I took a picture of a blooming flowerbed from my yard.
    4. Enter a message. Don't forget that there is a character limit. This is what I wrote, feel free to reuse or modify it as needed.
      Please give to one of the veterans in your care.
      From the depths of my heart, thank you for your service to our country. Our lives are more blessed that you are in them. I wish you a speedy road to health and happiness.
    5. Look up your local VA medical centers by state here, or this page for flash-unfriendly devices.
    6. In the address field, write "Voluntary Svcs Director" for a medical center, or "Administrator" for a Veteran's home. Fill in the address for the place of choice. Just enter one contact right now. Make sure there are no special characters, specifically the hash sign (#). I kept getting server errors with that.
    7. PART B: If you want to send to currently deployed troops
    8. Send the card. It "works it's magic", and sends you an email confirmation.
    9. Repeat. It gets much quicker, since you can pull the address in from the Recent prompt. You can select the same address in all 8 fields to send 8 copies to the same hospital. Just to remind you, this costs you nothing until they hit 50,000.
    10. That's it! Additionally, you could contact your local center to let them know what you're doing, and to expect the cards. You could find out how many they might need, and how to make sure it gets to the right person.

    Long term plan:
    • Talk with Touchnote about the possibility of free/low rate cards for ones sent to VA hospitals.
    • Talk with HP/Palm/(Palm Connections?) about the possibility of subsidizing Touchnote cards sent from webOS phones for community purposes such as this.
    • Develop an app that preloads available VA hospitals by state and simplifies other functions.
    • When the groundwork is done, work with military and veterans advocacy groups to adopt and promote this system/incorporate it into work already done.
    • A discussion that I'd like to have along the way is to find a process to send cards to actively deployed troops.

    So, the end goal of what I'm talking about isn't "Send X cards to Y hospitals", it is to lower the barrier for a normal webOS user to choose to send cards. I'm looking for help -- people that can join in on making the long term goals happen, can connect us with people, spread the word, or simply just send cards. We have such a dynamic and powerful community, let's use that energy for something great. Let me know your thoughts and feedback!
    Last edited by digitalelph; 04/11/2011 at 02:13 PM.
  2. GFS
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    Great idea! It may make sense to go through a 3rd party for sending out postcards to troops in the field. There are a lot of organizations that do care packages. If the cards are sent to them directly, they could simply pack them into the packages and pass them along that way.
  3.    #3  
    I like that idea, and it fits well with the boundaries of what Touchnote can currently do. Easy way to solve our overseas problem. A quick google search turns up a couple of groups that are doing this (Give2TheTroops - Supporting Deployed U.S. Troops With Care Packages, U.S. Troop Care Package, Welcome to Operation Gratitude-Support Our Troops-Care Packages for Military), so I'll start looking through and researching more. I'll try to pick one that I can include in the short term section as an option for people using the HP promotion. If anyone has experience with a specific group, let me know.
    Twitter: digitalelph
  4.    #4  
    For those looking to use the HP Promotion to send cards to actively deployed troops, here are domestic addresses that you can send to be included in care packages. It's probably a good idea to note that on the card, something to the effect of "Please include this in a care package sent to a US soldier."

    Give to the Troops Branch Locations
    Various addresses by state

    U.S. Troop Care Package
    "U.S. Troop Care Package"
    P.O. Box 3445
    Pasco, WA 99302

    Welcome to Operation Gratitude-Support Our Troops-Care Packages for Military - Letters to Veterans
    Operation Gratitude
    17330 Victory Blvd
    Van Nuys, CA 91406

    For the above address, they also do special packages for Wounded Warrior Units. If you're writing a card specifically for a soldier in the Wounded Warrior program, note it in either the address or the message itself.

    Operation Gratitude also has a program that delivers letters and cards to veterans of previous wars. You can send those cards to:
    Thank a Veteran
    c/o Penny Alfonso
    1970 Rangeview Drive
    Glendale, CA 91201

    Of course, I would also encourage you to look into the great work that these organizations are doing, and possibly contribute items to be sent in a care package.
    Twitter: digitalelph

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