Cards of encouragement brighten the days for seniors concerned about COVID-19

Two online services are collecting hand-made cards for seniors concerned about COVID-19.

Two area young people collecting cards for seniors

Emily Truman displays cards and letters she has collected for seniors. (Emily Truman)

Seniors around Windsor-Essex are getting some letters of encouragement during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic thanks to two people who are collecting them from the public.

"I still wanted to find a way to connect and to bring some hope and encouragement to all of the seniors who are really struggling in the face of this," said Emily Truman, 16, who started the Virtual Happy Mail project.

Truman is collecting cards and letters from people who scan them and email them to her. She then forwards them to long-term care homes, retirement homes and Meals on Wheels staff.

"I love volunteering. There's always been some vulnerability, some isolation, especially among those in long-term care and retirement homes," said Truman."They're just such amazing people and they're not often heard."

Jessica Hammond, 30, has started a similar initiative called the SENcerely Project, allowing members of the public to fill out a Google form online with well wishes.

An example of one of the hand-made cards Emily Truman has collected (Emily Truman)

"A lot of us here have the tech apps like Netflix and just other distractions that we can use to pass the time with and to cope," said Hammond, a University of Windsor law student originally from Calgary.

"Some of the senior residents don't have this. Additionally with the public visitations put on suspension, I wanted to figure out a way where we can maintain that social connection to help them through this time."

Jessica Hammond started the SENcerity Project a week ago. (CBC)

Hammond said she started the initiative after reading an article about COVID-19. For her, the initiative is also personal: Her father is almost 78 years-old.

At the same time, Truman's grandmother is living in a long-term care home where an outbreak is taking place.

"I think it's very important, especially at this time, that we take care of each other and maintain that kindness and love," said Hammond.


With files from Sanjay Maru