Tag Archives: Holiday

Holiday Travel Preparation

With the holidays only a few short weeks away, it’s time to get plans for family visits and end of year trips finalized before the busy season is in full swing. Traveling with a disability that requires mobility equipment can quickly become a stressful task if proper accommodations have not been made in advance.  Preparing ahead of time can save you some headaches when it is time to board your plane. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your upcoming vacations:

  • Be sure to inform your airline if you or someone you are traveling with uses a wheelchair, mobility equipment or will need to bring medical equipment onto the aircraft.
  • Ensure you have refilled prescriptions for any medications you may need throughout the duration of your trip.
  • If you need to rent a car, make these arrangements in advance to guarantee a handicap accessible vehicle.
  • If possible, bring any tools you might need in case you experience any issues with your wheelchair. If you have replacement parts, it might be a good idea to bring these along as well.
  • If your wheelchair must be checked for your flight, make sure to tag it as you would the rest of your luggage. Include your name and contact details, as well as those of your hotel or wherever else you may be staying.
  • Staying somewhere other than home can be a challenge so make sure your hotel or other arrangements are accessible by wheelchair (if necessary) and can otherwise accommodate you.
  • Plan to arrive at the airport as early as possible to ensure you have plenty of time to make your way through security and finalize any special accommodations you might require for your mobility equipment.
  • When booking your flights, know that passengers requiring a wheelchair are generally the first to board and last to leave the plane, meaning that connecting flights with short layovers may become difficult.

Despite having to take select special measures, those living with disabilities should not be apprehensive to fly or travel. Airlines have become more and more accommodating and understanding, making this the perfect time to book a vacation and get back in touch with faraway friends and family.

Holiday Travel Tips

Millions of people will take to the highways, skies, or rails to visit their loved ones over the upcoming holiday. With snow and sleet predicted for many parts of the country this weekend, here are some travel tips to help holiday travelers arrive safely at their destination:

Driving

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Fill your gas tank, check the air pressure in your tires and make sure you have windshield fluid.
  • Buckle up, slow down, don’t drink and drive.
  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones – don’t text and drive.
  • Make frequent stops on long trips. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and rest.
  • If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

Flying and Riding Trains

  • It’s flu season. If you’ve been sick or been in contact with someone who is sick, consider postponing your trip. You could be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.
  • Remember that everything you touch has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc. Handle your own belongings as much as possible. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring your own pillows and blankets – they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • Avoid touching your face or eyes. If you have to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your sleeve.

Travel Tips

  • If you have diabetes or take medication using a syringe, get a signed letter from your doctor  explaining that your syringes are a medical necessity.
  • Know the generic names of your medications so you can replace them if they are lost or stolen. Your medication will have a different brand name in another country.
  • If you have any life-threatening allergies, wear a medical alert bracelet and bring an Epi-pen kit.
  • Travel light. Take only what you need and no more.
  • Make sure your children know their home address and telephone number. Show them where to go if you get separated, and review the procedure for dealing with strangers.
  • Leave the jewelry at home and reduce your risk of getting robbed. The same goes for expensive electronics such as iPods and digital cameras. Buy some disposable cameras to use.
  • Make photocopies of your passports, credit cards and other ID. Leave one copy with a relative at home, and keep another copy separate from your originals.
  • Travel with only one credit card. Bring a combination of traveller’s cheques and cash in small bills (American money is universally accepted). You should be able to use your debit card as long as the machine has the CIRRUS symbol. You will be charged for each transaction. Try to familiarize yourself with the local currency so your first transaction won’t be so confusing.
  • Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses as backup. You don’t want your vacation ruined because you can’t see anything.

Holiday Travel Safety Tips

With Christmas and New Year’s swiftly approaching, multitudes of people will be traveling.  AAA predicts 98.6 million Americans will travel this holiday season between December 23, 2014 and January 4, 2015.  The organization also anticipates that 91% will travel by car, truck, or van, 6% will travel by air, and 3% will take a bus or train.  All of this travel traffic can make it treacherous to get around if you are not paying attention.

In addition to the higher risk of traveling during the holidays with the extra people on the road, the weeks before can also be dangerous as many folks are out shopping and may be distracted as the frantically rush around searching for the perfect gifts.

Awareness of the days with the highest number of vehicles on the road and staying alert are extremely important strategies to staying safe while traveling.  Other strategies for staying safe are:

  • Try to travel on days and at times that are not peak travel days and times.  If most people will be traveling Wednesday through Sunday, try to travel Tuesday through Saturday.  Strive to travel early in the day and at times when traffic volume is the lowest.
  • Plan your route around malls, big stores, airports, and major sporting venues to avoid the crowds and congestion.
  • Before a long drive, make sure you get plenty of sleep and have something to eat.
  • Take breaks every few hours, even if you’re not sleepy. Get out and walk around to stretch your legs.  Play Frisbee or catch with the kids.  Have a snack.  It will keep you more alert.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in prime condition before the trip. Change the oil, if needed.  Make sure the fluid levels and gas tank are full and that tires are properly inflated.
  • Share the driving. If you are alone, turn on the music and crack the window to help stay alert.  You may want to use your foot on the gas pedal to control the speed and not the cruise control to keep yourself more vigilant.
  • Make sure everyone is buckled up.
  • Make sure the vehicle is stocked with a map or atlas, jumper cables, spare tire, wiper fluid, first aid kit, pillow, blanket, and snacks. Bringing snacks from home is usually healthier and cheaper than getting them from a vending machine.
  • If traveling with children, pack activities to entertain them such as movies, coloring books, toys, activity books, etc. Remember to stop for frequent breaks and to have some fun.
  • Start looking for a gas station when your gas gauge reads ¼ tank. Don’t wait until you are on empty to fill up. The next exit with a gas station may be quite a distance away.

Help Our Veterans This Holiday Season!

Give Back to Veterans in Need This Holiday Season by Donating an Item on Veterans Inc.’s Holiday Wish List!

Donations are accepted 24/7 at our headquarters on 69 Grove Street in Worcester, MA.

Gift bags will be assembled using the donated items on Friday, December 19th and will be ready to be distributed to our veterans in time for Christmas.

Help Our Veterans This Holiday Season!

Holiday Mail for Heroes: Give Something That Means Something

Holiday Mail for Heroes- Give Something that means something 2014

Program Overview

With many service members and veterans separated from their families this holiday season due to deployments and hospital stays, the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes (HMFH) program empowers people to “Give Something That Means Something” by sending a card of thanks and support to the members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

Beginning in 2014, the program will take on a different look, as Red Cross chapters across the continental U.S. and Red Cross offices on military installations overseas will take complete control of the program. There will no longer be a national Holiday Mail for Heroes P.O. Box to which cards are sent.

Moving forward, local Red Cross offices will collect, sort, and distributing the holiday cards using an events-based approach in their local communities. Local Red Cross offices will:

  1. Hold events to sign or make holiday cards
  2. Schedule card-sorting times.
  3. Coordinate card delivery to the military, vets and families in their communities.

These changes will allow local Red Cross offices to better concentrate on reaching out to the members of the military, veterans and families in their community—neighbors helping neighbors.

Questions & Answers

What is the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program?
The Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program enables Americans to “Give Something That Means Something” this holiday season. We are inviting the public to send cards of thanks, encouragement and holiday cheer to members of our U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and military families, many of whom will be far away from home this holiday season.

What is the address of the P.O. Box for the program?
There is no longer a national P.O. Box for the program. Instead, Holiday Mail for Heroes is being conducted at the Red Cross office in your local community. Check with your local Red Cross for times and locations of events and for opportunities to get involved.

Why is the Red Cross changing the format of the program?
We have made this change for several reasons including:

  • A reduction in U.S. military forces overseas, particularly in the Middle East and across Europe.
  • Increased costs of conducting the program.

I contacted my local Red Cross office and they are not participating in the program this year. Where do I send my cards?
There are two options for sharing your holiday cards:

  • Ask your local Red Cross office for military and veterans organizations in your community where you can send your cards directly.
  • Check the participating chapters tab for updated information regarding the closest Red Cross chapter in your area participating in Holiday Mail for Heroes.

I don’t know anyone in the military; how do I participate?
You don’t need to know anyone in the military. Red Cross workers will distribute cards to members of the military and veterans around the world. Contact your local Red Cross for times and locations of card-signing and card-making events.

Cards are not addressed to anyone specific, so who gets these cards?
Participating Red Cross chapters will determine how to best distribute cards to service members, veterans and family members in their local communities, across the nation and around the world. Cards may be delivered individually, included in care packages or displayed at common venues in military installations and hospitals.

Can I drop cards off at my local Red Cross office?
Yes.

Will my card be distributed to our troops stationed overseas?
Cards are distributed to hundreds of locations domestically and around the world, including military installations, military and VA medical facilities and veterans organizations. Please understand that it is difficult to determine which cards will be sent overseas and which will be sent domestically.

What is the goal for the 2014 Holiday Mail for Heroes Program?
The goal is to share season’s greeting and holiday cheer to the members of our Armed Forces. We do not have a goal for a total number of cards.

Are there other restrictions and guidelines for cards?
In order to make cards as meaningful as possible to a wide audience, we recommend that the public use generic titles such as “Dear Service Member, Veteran, or Military Family Member” when writing the cards. Cards should not contain glitter because some cards may end up at the bedside of a wounded service member and the glitter could aggravate existing health issues.

Can I include calling cards, money or other items in the cards?
We ask that people not enclose any items with the holiday cards. Any items enclosed with the holiday cards will be removed, including photos and other gifts. If you wish to provide financial support for Red Cross services to the military, please donate online.

How can people get involved in the Holiday Mail program beyond mailing a card?
  • Word of Mouth: Check with your local Red Cross office for up-to-date information about the program.
  • Social Media: Connect with fellow card senders through social media channels and help us get the word out through Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtag #holidaymail.
  • Help Sort and Deliver Cards: If you are interested in helping sort and deliver cards, please contact a participating chapter in your area to see how you can help.

How can people support other Red Cross programs that help members of the military and their families?
Supporting Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces work is simple and we encourage you to make a financial donation by donating online or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

**Contact your local Red Cross chapter directly to find out if they are participating**

Holiday Travel Tips

Millions of people will take to the highways, skies, or rails to visit their loved ones over the upcoming holiday. With snow and sleet predicted for many parts of the country this weekend, here are some travel tips to help holiday travelers arrive safely at their destination:

Driving

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Fill your gas tank, check the air pressure in your tires and make sure you have windshield fluid.
  • Buckle up, slow down, don’t drink and drive.
  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones – don’t text and drive.
  • Make frequent stops on long trips. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and rest.
  • If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

Flying and Riding Trains

  • It’s flu season. If you’ve been sick or been in contact with someone who is sick, consider postponing your trip. You could be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.
  • Remember that everything you touch has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc. Handle your own belongings as much as possible. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring your own pillows and blankets – they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • Avoid touching your face or eyes. If you have to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your sleeve.

Travel Tips

  • If you have diabetes or take medication using a syringe, get a signed letter from your doctor  explaining that your syringes are a medical necessity.
  • Know the generic names of your medications so you can replace them if they are lost or stolen. Your medication will have a different brand name in another country.
  • If you have any life-threatening allergies, wear a medical alert bracelet and bring an Epi-pen kit.
  • Travel light. Take only what you need and no more.
  • Make sure your children know their home address and telephone number. Show them where to go if you get separated, and review the procedure for dealing with strangers.
  • Leave the jewelry at home and reduce your risk of getting robbed. The same goes for expensive electronics such as iPods and digital cameras. Buy some disposable cameras to use.
  • Make photocopies of your passports, credit cards and other ID. Leave one copy with a relative at home, and keep another copy separate from your originals.
  • Travel with only one credit card. Bring a combination of traveller’s cheques and cash in small bills (American money is universally accepted). You should be able to use your debit card as long as the machine has the CIRRUS symbol. You will be charged for each transaction. Try to familiarize yourself with the local currency so your first transaction won’t be so confusing.
  • Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses as backup. You don’t want your vacation ruined because you can’t see anything.

Happy Columbus Day

Happy Columbus Day

Today, America celebrates Columbus Day in honor of Christopher Columbus, the man who discovered…(kind of) America. Here are ten Columbus Day facts to help you celebrate this year’s Columbus Day.

1. Christopher Columbus never set foot on North American soil. Despite what you may have learned in school, Columbus never actually reached North America. He landed on an island in the Bahamas.

2. Columbus is often celebrated as a hero, but many people do not think of him that way. There are many people who oppose Columbus Day. Many people attribute the colonization of America, which included the death of millions, slavery, and the spread of disease to Columbus.

The History Channel says that some places in the world have changed Columbus Day to a variation of “Day of Indigenous Resistance,” to celebrate the indigenous people who were killed by Columbus and his men. In Hawaii, Columbus Day is called Discovery Day.

3. Only one of Columbus’ famous ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, is known by its real name. The Pinta was actually called the Pinta. According to the Long Island Press, the Santa Maria was named the Gallega, and the Nina was a nickname for the Santa Clara.

4. Columbus is believed to have been an opium addict. Opium is used to create modern day heroin.

5. Columbus and his men are said to have brought the diseases syphilis back to Europe.

6. Another popular theory is that no one actually knows what Columbus looks like. Experts believe that the portraits of Columbus were not actually drawn of him.

7. Columbus Day has been a National Holiday in the United States since 1937. It was first celebrated in the United States in New York on October 12th, 1792.

8. Christopher Columbus discovered the new world on October 12, 1492.

9. Christopher Columbus was not the explorer’s real name. Experts believe that it was closer to Crisstofa Corumbo.

10. Columbus wasn’t afraid of falling off the edge of the world. Explorers in Columbus’s day did not believe that the world was flat. The big question wasn’t about the earth’s shape, but it’s size.

Columbus Day

banner_columbus
Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Before it became a legal federal holiday in 1971, many states celebrated Columbus Day on October 12.

It marks Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to America. He landed on the island of Guanahani in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492.

Columbus, and a crew of 90 people, set sail about ten weeks earlier aboard their ships – Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

Timeline:
1792 – The first Columbus Day celebration is organized by The Society of St. Tammany and held in New York City, (300th anniversary of Columbus’ landing).

1892 – President Benjamin Harrison issues a proclamation establishing a celebration of Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing.

April 7, 1907 – Colorado becomes the first state to declare Columbus Day a legal holiday.

1920 – Columbus Day begins being celebrated annually.

1971 – Columbus Day becomes a legal federal holiday in the United States.

Presidential Proclamation (PL90-363) states that the observance of Columbus Day is always on the second Monday in October.