Nursing home 'overwhelmed' by positive response to pandemic pen pal program

Will you be their pen pal?

There’s nothing better than getting a letter.

Increased loneliness and isolation are two heartbreaking consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, inspiring one network of care homes in North Carolina to proactively promote a pen pal program for residents.

Officials say the center has since been “overwhelmed” by an outpouring of love and support since the campaign went viral on social media, with letters arriving from around the world.

Victorian Senior Care operates 14 nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the Tar Heel State, and has restricted visitors since March 13 for the health and safety of its residents amid the COVID-19 crisis.

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To help beat the blues after months of isolation, Victorian Senior Care recently sent out a call to action, asking the public to send letters to residents at Phoenix Assisted Care in Cary, Fox 5 DC reports. Exceeding expectations, the late June pitch went wildly viral on Facebook with over 327,000 shares, 37,000 likes and 16,000 comments.

In the weeks since, the care center has shared images of residents from other locations who hope to receive snail mail of their own. For the cute campaign, Victorian Senior Care is posting photos of the residents with a sign listing their name and a fun fact or information about their hobbies or interests, in search of a perfect pen pal match.

Thanking program participants in an update last Tuesday, the care home said that they have been “overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support not just from our own state or country but from all around the world!”

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“Our residents are truly the reason we do what we do and seeing the excitement and smiles on their faces make our day,” a spokesperson wrote on Facebook.

According to Victorian Senior Care’s chief operating officer Meredith Seals, about 15,000 letters and care package items have poured in since the pitch went viral.

“There are so many people whom have reached out wanting to help, we are trying to respond to everyone quickly but having trouble keeping up,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle on Wednesday. “[It] warms my heart that so many people care.”

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The care center is still seeking letter-writing buddies for the #VSCPenPals project; those interested can learn more about potential partners on the Victorian Senior Care site.

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