Children send off hundreds of 'Letters from Home'

South Coast Plaza played host to a recent letter-writing campaign that organizers believe broke a world record for most cards written for the troops in a single afternoon.

The children who participated in the April 27 "Letters from Home" campaign at the Costa Mesa shopping center wrote 507 letters within a four-hour window, according to a news release.

The Festival of Children Foundation, a Costa Mesa-based nonprofit, and the Irvine-based Team Kids organized the effort, which took place in the center's Carousel Court. It coincided with Global Youth Service Day.

"I know first-hand how incredible it is to receive mail from when I was deployed in Iraq," Team Kids Program Director Jamie "Doc" Havig said in a prepared statement. "Nothing raises the spirits of our troops like a hand-written letter from a child."

Added Julie Hudash, Team Kids' founder and chief executive: "This project mobilized children from California to Virginia to send much-deserved messages of appreciation to our troops serving abroad."

Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger also attended the event, where he gave Team Kids' Youth Council a volunteer service award that was achieved after their giving of more than 1,000 hours of volunteer service.

One of the letters, provided to the Daily Pilot, was written by a fifth-grader and addressed to the "U.S. Milatary." The writer topped it with an American flag and "USA" in gold glitter.

"I am so proud to write this letter," it reads. "I don't know how you guys do all this work, but I hope you keep it up!"

Twitter: @bradleyzint

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