By Jeff Todd

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A woman’s quest to send tens of thousands of holiday cards to troops overseas is hitting one last hurdle this holiday season. Marlys Halbeisen has written 25,000 cards herself over the past year, but her source for funding the postage dried up.

“I just sit down with boxes of cards and a pen and turn on the TV and watch the Hallmark channel and write cards,” Halbeisen said. “I hope people will help me out.”

(credit: CBS)

On Wednesday, Halbeisen and a few friends loaded up 75 boxes full of letters and shipped them off to a nonprofit in Washington D.C. that then distributes the cards to military bases around the world. Some other volunteers wrote cards bringing this year’s total to about 38,000.

“I love every single card I write,” Halbeisen said. “Just think, 38,000 smiles in these boxes.”

She was hoping a source of money from last holiday season would pick up the bill for postage again.

“Time came and I went to turn in the bill, and they said, ‘Oh no. We’re through with it this year,’” Halbeisen said.

Over the past few years, she’s responsible for a campaign that has sent more than 100,000 cards to active-duty members. It’s gained her nationwide acclaim.

(credit: CBS)

This year, in a last-minute need, she had to pay out of pocket almost $2,000 to get the cards to D.C. and is expecting another bill nearly $3,000 in a few weeks.

A difficult bill to pay, but a worthwhile expense for the smiles it brings for people longing from home. Halbeisen says some military members have written back to say thanks.

“She was so excited that she was so home sick and so lonesome, and it was just wonderful to have a card, knowing someone cared somewhere,” Halbeisen said about someone who was stationed in Italy that received a card.

Because of the costs, and other health factors, this is likely the last year of a mass card writing campaign for Halbeisen. She’s hoping someone else will pick up where she’s leaving off.

“I hope someone will decide to pick up and start donating cards to them too,” she said.

An online campaign has been set up on GoFundMe and has already raised $900 and can be found by searching Halbeisen’s name.

Jeff Todd