Advo Inc. said yesterday that it has recovered 100 missing children as a direct result of the company’s “Have You Seen Me?” direct mail cards.
The company made the announcement at the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus hosted by House Speaker J. Denis Hastert. The event celebrated the milestone, which was originally announced in late July.
They were joined by representatives of the programs sponsors — the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the U.S. Postal Service and Advo. The event also emphasized the importance of picture programs in helping to locate the thousands of children reported missing each year.
Advo, Windsor, CT, and its direct mail partners launched the America’s Looking for Its Missing Children program in 1985 and have been distributing pictures of missing children on the “Have You Seen Me?” direct mail cards in Advo’s card pack to up to 79 million homes nationwide each week.
In total, more than 40 billion pictures of missing children have been distributed, and the cooperative program has helped to recover about one out of every seven children featured on the cards since 1985.
Children are returned to their families as a result of tips received — most often anonymously — from members of the public who recognize the pictures of the missing children on the cards and notified the national center via the 1-800-THE-LOST number on the cards. In response to the calls it receives, the national center coordinates searches involving local law enforcement officials, the FBI and often international police agencies.
In July, working on a tip from a person who recognized her picture on a “Have you Seen Me” card, FBI agents located 5-year-old Kathleen Mooney of Bucks County, PA, who had been abducted 18 months earlier and taken to a remote Honduran island called Roatan. The FBI was able to return her to her family.
“Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the national center, Advo and the postal service for helping return my daughter to me,” Kathleen’s mother, Vicki LePosa, said at the event. “I want to urge all Americans to take a few moments each week to look at these cards they receive in the mail. As Kathleen’s homecoming shows, picture programs work.”