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Our Hearts Grew

Published online: Apr 15, 2024 Articles Susan Stucki
Viewed 638 time(s)

Excitement mounted as the Senior Solutions’ staff and JustServe volunteers sorted valentines collected from the community for our 4th annual Valentines for Seniors campaign. First there were dozens, then hundreds, then thousands. Anticipation permeated the office as we were approaching our valentine count from last year, 9,618. Could we possibly surpass that number? More handcrafted valentines continued to arrive. Once again, this community astounded us as each of the 13,004 collected valentines were made ready for delivery to anonymous recipients.

Thousands of residents of all ages created handmade messages for our golden-aged friends. We observed excited 5th graders who were pouring their creativity into beautiful valentines intended to bring cheer to the recipients. They represented hundreds of other students around the community who created a special message for someone they may never meet but filled each masterpiece with love. 

We heard about various church congregations who participated in this annual endeavor. In one instance, an entire congregation met together to do their part in sharing love to our seniors with heartfelt valentines. One woman with Rocks 4 Paws painted 100 rocks over the past year to be gifted this Valentine’s Day. Those valentines will stand the test of time! 

Donations from Teton Radiology and anonymous donors provided 160 dozen roses, 1,920 single flowers, to be delivered with valentines to our senior friends. Another group donated about 300 fresh flowers, making it possible to deliver approximately 2,200 flowers. What a generous community! Anticipation mounted as the trailer filled with the roses arrived at our sorting hub and were sent out to neighborhoods across the area. 

For the second year, our goal was to expand our reach to as many seniors as possible who live in their homes. As in the past three years, volunteers delivered to senior apartments, and facilities where seniors reside. We also sent roses and valentines to home health and hospice patients. This was a herculean effort but once again many stepped up to the plate, eager to deliver hope and love with each valentine and each rose. Our message to seniors was clear. You are not forgotten. You are loved. Our wonderful community cares about you!

The mayors of the cities of Idaho Falls, Ammon, Iona, and Ucon pledged their support to remember and honor our senior citizens and encouraged their residents to do the same.

The delivery methods and experiences were varied just as the creation of each valentine was unique. Adults and teens enjoyed delivering roses and valentines in their neighborhoods. One group of girls made appointments to visit ladies who live alone. They assembled a gift package of items including the valentine and rose from the community. They added a game that initiated conversation by asking the recipients questions to help them become better acquainted. A few of their comments include: “Strong bonds were formed between all involved with plans to return to visit soon. Those are valentine connections that will keep on giving and blessing both the young ladies and their new elderly friends”. “[our time together] helped us discover the similarities we all share across the generation gap. Reaching out helped us become connected in a beautiful way that will be cherished for a long time.” One woman showed the girls three vintage valentine keepsakes from her ancestors. One was from 1915, and two from the 1920s. 

Another shared: “My favorite experience was when I had the chance to meet a sweet older lady who informed me that Valentine's Day was her birthday and that she loved to get dressed up for the occasion. She allowed me to take her picture and let me know just how much it meant to be remembered on such a special day for her.”

This annual community wide campaign will continue to grow in coming years. We invite everyone to participate. Experience has proven that service always blesses the giver as much as the recipient. 


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