Last year, Sharon Wolters committed to remembering those residing in long-term care homes and hospitals by sending them homemade greeting cards.
With an overwhelming amount of support from the community, her initiative Greetings From My Heart sent over 5,000 handmade greeting cards to seniors in long-term care homes, patients in Guelph General Hospital and residents in retirement homes since the initiative kicked off in April 2020.
Wolters said approximately 129 individuals contributed to the initiative along with a few local schools, churches, realtors and groups.
“It’s the community. I ask and people are very thoughtful and I think they want to do what they can especially during this time,” said Wolters.
“They came through and it's very humbling and heart warming especially when the kids drop stuff off because they get so excited.They’ll come to the door and they'll knock, they've got masks on and stuff but they'll knock and they’ll say ‘we’ve got more cards for you!’”
She said sometimes she doesn't hear a peep from organizations who’ve received a card and while it can be discouraging, she said what keeps her going is reflecting back on why she began this initiative — which is to make residents of long-term care homes and hospital patients feel like they’re not forgotten during the pandemic, and to remind them that they’re loved and cared for.
She said it always reminds her of her late mother, an Alzheimer's patient who would sit in her long-term care home wondering why nobody would come visit her.
“Just that thought is heartbreaking and I have to say that’s what keeps me doing this,” said Wolters.
“For some people, a card is a card, but for some people, that card could be a lifeline,” she said.
Wolters said she knows that if her mom were to receive a card when she was alive, her face would light up.
“I know she would have held on to it. She probably would have had a tear and then she would have kept it right beside her on her table or on her dresser and kept picking it up and looking at it over and over again. I just know that for a fact,” said Wolters.
She said the initiative will continue to grow. The group will have a poem writing contest starting Friday, April 23, where participants will be asked to write an encouraging poem in 25 words or less in large font to make it easy for seniors to read. Contest details will be on the Greetings From My Heart Instagram page.
“The first place winner will have their poem printed on a bookmark to be given to each card recipient on our next card drive. They will also receive a new tablet to hone their writing skills,” said Wolters. She said second and third prize winners will have their poems printed on bookmarks and will receive a gift card from a local business.
“We are really looking forward to the help of the community for the next delivery of over 2,000 cards in June,” said Wolters.
“They will include a gift or a lovingly created poem on a bookmark for each and every person in our Guelph LTC and retirement homes and the Guelph General Hospital.”
Wolters can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org.