What two sisters started as a pastime during the pandemic has grown into a nationwide organization fighting against isolation. Realizing their grandmother wasn’t the strongest technology user, they began to write her letters to keep in touch while they couldn’t physically be together. After seeing the mutual social and emotional benefits, they answered the call of seniors across the country and created Letters Against Isolation.
Copper Shores Meals on Wheels is excited to be one of the partners in Letters Against Isolation distribution. Through Letters Against Isolation, people from all over the world can write letters and make handmade cards that get sent directly to seniors in the Copper Shores Meals on Wheels program.
Though seniors often do not know the person they are receiving a letter from, many are excited to know someone is thinking of them. Many writers will talk about their life and the exciting things happening for them, others send well wishes, poems, prayers and more. To have a letter, even if it’s only a peek into someone’s life, helps homebound and isolated seniors feel connected to others.
The Surgeon General recently released a report deeming isolation and loneliness an epidemic, citing the sense of belonging as a “fundamental human need.” People feel a sense of belonging in multiple ways, including social groups, physical places, and experiences.
The harsh Copper Country winters can leave seniors feeling even more isolated as friends move south for the season, roads and sidewalks become icy and dangerous, and weather conditions slow or stop travel and visitations.
“We thought that especially during the winters, it would help a lot of our seniors with loneliness, some of them don’t have anyone to talk to,” said Mckenzie Hart, office clerk of Copper Shores Meals on Wheels.
Hart is in charge of coordinating the receival, distribution and delivery of letters for Copper Shores, making sure that letters make it to seniors. In addition to sending out letters to seniors, Hart and staff have received their own letter, being thanked for what they do.
“I think for myself and Jessica Mills, our Assessor, it’s made us feel more appreciated,” said Hart. “They’ll send cute little cards, talking about how important the job we do is. Sometimes we get to look through the cards and I think it’s given me a different outlook on life.”
Hart hand writes thank you notes to every person who includes the return address to express gratitude from herself and the other employees.
“I like to make sure that they feel appreciated and they know that what they are doing is important as well,” said Hart.
Employees and seniors alike are excited by the inflow of letters from caring strangers, and hope distribution continues to grow in the Copper Country. If you would like to get involved or write a letter for a senior in need of connection, visit: www.lettersagainstisolation.com to sign up.
To learn more about the dangers of isolation and loneliness, read the one of latest Surgeon General reports: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf