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Write a letter to cheer someone up this holiday season

Join New West Public Library's 'Holiday Hellos' initiative to help older and isolated members of the community have a holly jolly Christmas.

It's a good bet that most people already have their travel plans set to end the year in the company of their families.

But even as you gear up for an elaborate homemade turkey dinner with your loved ones, the New West Public Library is asking you to spare a thought for all those in the community who might have to spend the festive season in solitude. 

Through the library’s Holiday Hellos  (a name coined by Coquitlam Public Library) initiative, which is in its third year now, over 400 letters were sent out to community members in the last two years — 150-plus in 2020, and 250-plus in 2021. 

“What we did is we partnered with the Senior Services Society (an organization that supports seniors aged 60 and above)," said Heather Hortness, who is leading the Holiday Hellos program. "They have a Santa for Seniors program in which they provide hot meals and grocery gift cards to seniors within our community,”

The first edition of Holiday Hellos was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to help seniors in the community who were forced to isolate, and had few opportunities to meet others, Hortness said.

“We wanted to find a way to connect some of the young or young at heart patrons with some of the older or more isolated members of our community,” she said. “So we thought a nice way is if these young or young-at-heart patrons could create a holiday card, some artwork or a nice letter and share it with someone in the community.” 

As part of the program, Hortness designs holiday cards in a way that provides enough space for people to add their personal writings and art.

Anyone can collect one of the cards from the library (either the main library or the one at Queensborough Community Centre), write their message on it, and drop it off back at the library.

All the cards that the library receives before Dec. 7 will be delivered to older community members along with a hot meal and a gift card as part of Santa for Seniors program, between Dec. 12 and 16. 

“But, if we get cards after that, that's fine too. Because we also have our Home Library Service patrons — we go to their homes and bring the materials, so we can also give them the cards.” 

Though most of the cards that the library collects are made by kids, “quite a lot of adults” participate too, Hortness noted. “We have collected cards or artwork from individuals, families, schools, day cares and other community organizations,” she said. 

“It’s for anyone who just wants to write a nice holiday greeting to someone in the community that may need some joy during the holiday season.“

For more details about Holiday Hellos, visit New West Public Library website. Besides the cards, people can also donate a $15 holiday meal card, $25 or $50 groceries and medicine bundle, $100, $200 or $350 temporary housing bundle, towards the Santa for Seniors program. For details, visit Seniors Services Society website.



A post shared by NWPLibrary (@nwplibrary)

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