A 16-year-old from Lakeshore is hoping to make the holiday season a little brighter for 10,000 seniors.
Emily Truman founded the Stay Gold Society with the mission to collect homemade cards from residents in the community that will be delivered to elderly people living in nursing homes.
When describing her initiative, Truman painted a sombre picture of what Christmastime can be like for seniors living alone.
"Right now, as you read this, there is an elderly woman sitting by herself. She hasn’t had a visitor in two months other than a personal care worker that helps her get dressed in the morning and a nurse that checks her blood pressure. Her husband is gone and so are her friends," Truman said in a release. "As the holidays approach, she reflects on good times...these memories sustain her as she prepares to spend another Christmas at her long term care facility alone. No visitors. Not even a greeting card."
Truman has been a volunteer at a local nursing home for a year and said she's seen first hand the impact that one small act of kindness can have.
"Sometimes all it takes is a simple gesture; something as simple as a handmade card can brighten someone’s day," she said. "Not everyone has the time to visit the elderly, but most of us can at least find the time to create a card for someone who could use some kindness. It’s a simple but powerful gesture that helps us to slow down and reflect on the true meaning of the season."
Through her initiative, HappyMail, Truman is calling on the community to create handmade cards for the holidays that will be delivered to seniors in long-term care homes, as well as those who are homebound. Her goal this holiday season is to collect 10,000 cards.
HappyMail began less than a month ago and according to Truman, has already gained traction locally and beyond.
"Schools and youth groups in London and Toronto, as well as Florida and New Jersey will be making as well as hand-delivering cards to area nursing homes. Handmade cards are also being mailed in from as far away as Europe," she said.
Cards can be dropped off at any HappyMail post box location, which includes all Windsor Public Libraries from now until December 15 and the Amherstburg, Essex, Harrow, Lasalle, Leamington, Lakeshore and Tecumseh branches of the Essex County Library from now until December 9. Truman is also putting a call out to community groups to get involved in HappyMail, which can be done so by emailing her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.