Sending Love: Christmas cards for lonely elderly

Christmas is a time for family – but for many living among us, particularly the elderly, loneliness can run rampant.

It’s a time of year when it never hurts to spread a little extra festive cheer – and an act of kindness from an Auckland mother and her young son has now spread nationwide.

Hannah Rodgers initiated a ‘100 Days of Kindness’ challenge with her five year old son where they attempted to do something consciously kind every day for 100 days.

“One day I said to him ‘what are you going to do to be kind?’ and he said ‘I don’t have any money to be kind’ and that just broke my heart a little bit.

“I wanted to teach him that that’s not what kindness is.”

Last week, Rodgers and her son decided to write one card a day to someone who is lonely in a rest home who may not usually get many cards.

Rodgers posted the idea on her local Facebook community page where she was inundated with people who wanted to be involved.

“It was just an overwhelming response and just got bigger and bigger. Lots of people have jumped on board [and] I’m just overwhelmed with how many people have wanted to do it and the sense of community it’s brought out,” said Rodgers.

Last Friday [17 November], Rodgers set up the sendinglove.co.nz website. Since then, it’s had more than 1000 unique visitors with the Facebook group consisting of nearly 600 people hoping to be involved in some way.

The idea is to have as many drop boxes as possible set up at public locations across the country where people can contribute their own festive greeting cards which will then be delivered to as many rest home residents as possible in time for Christmas.

So far, drop boxes have sprung up as far south as Southland and as far north as Whangarei, with offers of help ranging from creating a drop box to sorting and delivering the cards.

Rodgers said it’s a great way to teach kids about kindness.

“It’s a great simple thing that kids can do to gain awareness around looking after people in our community and being aware of loneliness that quite often we don’t see.

“It’s also about having an impact on someone. It’s something quite easy to do but can make someone feel like they’re not forgotten.”

  • Sending Love is after an estimated 16,000 cards.From Thursday 23 November, the Times will have a drop box in its reception at Level 1, The Lane, Botany Town Centre open to the public. Visit sendinglove.co.nz to find out how you can get involved.

Card tips

  • Make sure your card is filled with love
  • Make it as creative as you can
  • Ensure it has a legible message. If a child’s words are illegible, write in brackets underneath
  • Keep your envelope unsealed to give the rest homes discretion to check cards if they choose
  • Avoid religious quotes — your recipient may not be religious
  • Just be you!