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SENIORS: OUR CROWN JEWELS

Published online: Feb 06, 2024 Articles, Best of IF Susan Stucki
Viewed 1127 time(s)

For the 4th year, the community is engaged in creating messages of hope and encouragement for our senior citizens, the crown jewels of our community. As part of our Valentines for Seniors campaign, young and old share their love with anonymous seniors with handmade cards and flowers. 

This initiative began as there was serious concern about our seniors who had little to no contact with the outside world during the pandemic. Even though we couldn’t meet our senior friends in person in 2021, our first year of this campaign, we arranged to deliver bags of handmade messages with facilities who serve senior citizens in any way. 

It seemed a natural fit to deliver a fresh rose along with the valentines. Generous donors offered to supply 550 red roses. We contacted area schools, College of Eastern Idaho, some businesses, clubs, and church groups to join in the crusade to bring joy to every senior citizen we could reach. Chanse Powell, Senior Solutions CEO, offered to connect us to approximately 2,000 seniors with whom he had connections in the community. Could we possibly gather 2,000 valentines? That number seemed staggering.

We made the plans and shared the address where these handmade cards could be mailed or delivered. A pick up option was available for schools and businesses with large numbers of valentines if needed. We were in motion and the good people in this community rallied. Students, clubs, groups and individuals not only answered the call, but surpassed our wildest dreams. We collected 5,050 homemade cards that first year, and to our surprise, many of those were made and donated by adults. This wasn’t just a kid’s project!

Prior to the end of our collection campaign, just in case we surpassed our goal of reaching 2,000 senior citizens, we prearranged with the hospitals to deliver bags of valentines for their inpatients. Because of the remarkable response, we were able to drop off boxes of valentines for patients. In addition, we delivered valentines for hospital staff who were working beyond ordinary expectations during the harsh and demanding pandemic. We were also able to deliver valentine notes of appreciation to our first responders, firefighters, police, and sheriff departments, along with others who deserved extra appreciation and love from our residents. We vowed to deliver every single valentine and rose, and we did!

When Valentine’s season in 2022 rolled around, we were still on fire. We were able to witness a few face-to-face deliveries as we distributed joyful valentine messages to the recipients. Again, we were grateful for the donation of 550 roses from anonymous individuals and businesses. Imagine the elation and excitement our volunteer sorting crew experienced as we counted and delivered 6,600 valentines in 2022. Again, we followed up on our commitment to deliver every single valentine.

Although we enjoyed showing our support and appreciation to many who serve in our community with valentines, in 2023 we created channels to steer the donated valentines and flowers back solely to the community seniors. Besides the facilities and services where we donated in years past, we needed to get valentines and flowers into the homes where shut-ins and seniors reside wherever possible. This was a daunting task, but many volunteers made it happen. With donations of over a thousand carnations and roses, in 2023 we delivered the flowers along with 9,618 valentines.

Now we are in the heart of 2024 and expect this campaign to continue to grow each year. Check JustServe.org to discover how you can be part of this delightful experience. If you know of seniors who would appreciate some extra love this Valentine’s season, join us in delivering hope and friendship to those we revere, our crown jewels.


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