In August 2020, four friends from Mississauga started a project to send a little sunshine to seniors in Canada in the form of handwritten cards.

With the holidays coming up, they’re looking for help to step up their game and majorly fight loneliness.

Sending Sunshine is actually the name of the project founded by Marissa Parker, Tracy Wu, Kaitlyn Liang and Emily Crowe.

They’re fully operated by unpaid volunteers, and collect handwritten cards from people inside and outside Canada to send to organizations that support seniors living independently as well as care homes across the country.

The idea behind the cards is to reduce the negative effects of loneliness on Canadian seniors.

“This group is generally known to be quite social, staying in regular contact with friends and family,” Parker tells blogTO.

“However, [the last two years] has caused a situation whereby connecting with loved ones face-to-face posed a serious threat to the health of our seniors.”

They are now partnered with around 250 care facilities, have had over 7,000 students from North America and beyond volunteer to be card writers, have grown a regular volunteer team of 27, and have received 77,000 cards to distribute, and have spent over $4500 making around 200 shipments.

“We have heard from several of our staff contacts within these facilities, indicating the positive impact that the cards have had on their residents,” says Parker.

“One individual said, ‘I just wanted to let you know that we received the bundle of cards yesterday and I am happy to share that the residents were tickled pink to receive them and enjoy the artwork and messages.'”

There’s now interest from 85 facilities and counting to receive holiday cards, and that shipping cost is Sending Sunshine’s biggest looming expense.

batch of cards waiting to be shipped
A previous batch of cards waiting to be shipped. Photo by Sending Sunshine.

“We currently have limited funds and will not be able to financially support the mailing cost of these packages in the future,” reads the description for a GoFundMe, which thankfully has gotten close to its $700 goal in less than 24 hours.

“Obtaining funds has been more challenging due to COVID-19,” says Parker. “Our main expense is the shipping cost to mail card bundles to our partnered facilities and to purchase postage for our pen pal program.”

However, their goals as a not-for-profit corporation reach far beyond this winter, and even Canada’s borders: they hope to expand to sending cards to care facilities outside of the country.

All funds raised will go directly to sending cards to senior citizens, so if you want to get a head start on your seasonal warm and fuzzies, it might be a good idea to donate to this charitable cause.


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Author: Amy Carlberg