LONELY rest-home residents in Southland will not be forgotten this Christmas, with a nationwide initiative under way in the region designed to put a smile on their faces.
Sending Love is a movement started by Hannah Rodgers, of Auckland, last month in which people write messages of love in Christmas cards to be given to rest homes residents who were lonely at Christmas time.
As of last week, there were 95 card collection boxes in 23 locations throughout New Zealand.
Sending Love Southland regional lead Andie Gentle said she had been overwhelmed with the support and kindness people had shown towards the project.
“Everyone is really putting in a special effort. It will mean so much to the lonely rest-home residents.”
Mrs Gentle said all the cards written in Southland would be given to people in the region experiencing loneliness at Christmas-time.
“It would be a dream result if we received enough cards to be able to give them to people outside of rest homes, perhaps through Meals on Wheels,” she said.
The New Zealand Aged Care Association was contacting rest homes to find out how many of its residents would appreciate a card. This information would be passed on to the regional leads to assist with distribution.
Mrs Gentle said she was still waiting on the official numbers of card requests for the region, but was heartbroken during her own ring-around to find out that most rest homes would be requesting cards for up to 50% of their residents.
“I thought that down here our numbers of residents who receive no visitors or cards at Christmas-time might not be so high. A staff member at one rest-home even said all of their residents would love a card. That made me even more driven to get this project really cranking down here.”
Mrs Gentle said as well as writing cards, people could also get involved by hosting a card collection box, donating cards or card-making supplies, or helping with card distribution closer to Christmas Day.
FrontLine Training Consultancy was one of four locations in Southland hosting a Sending Love collection box.
Frontline Training operations manager Nadia Steedman said with working in education, it was the company’s duty to teach its students about the importance of volunteering and supporting the community.
“We are very big at giving back to the community and I thought this is a fantastic way we could.”
The final day to drop off a card to a card collection box is next Thursday.