Two teenagers from the United States have singlehandedly played a massive role in battling loneliness amongst seniors through the power of writing letters.
As the COVID-19 pandemic swept over the world in 2020, people of all ages and regions were hugely affected. The age group who suffered the most was undoubtedly that of seniors, who were also among those with the highest risk from the disease.
Unfortunately, as the best way for seniors to protect themselves was to stay away from others, many found themselves battling feelings of loneliness and Isolation.
Thus, US teenagers took the task upon themselves to beat the pandemic of loneliness among the older generation by launching Letters Against Loneliness.
Letters Against Isolation – the start of something amazing
Shreya and Saffron Patel, teenage sisters, recognized the issue of loneliness and isolation with their grandparents early on in the pandemic. As such, they made it a priority to call them frequently to speak with them so they would still feel connected.
The sisters had somewhat of a lightbulb moment when their grandmother explained how delighted she was to receive a handwritten letter from a friend.
“This small gesture of connection meant the world to her,” says Shreya. “We realized that many other seniors may also be feeling disconnected and that they may appreciate a letter.”
A hugely positive response ‒ struggling to keep up with demand
Following this realization, the sisters reached out to assisted living facilities and care homes in local areas in their home of Boston. Here, they asked for permission to send letters to the residents.
They received an overwhelmingly positive response. So high was the demand that they couldn’t keep up with writing the letters themselves.
The sisters then decided to organize and invite others to join them as they formed a coordinated letter-writing campaign called Letters Against Isolation (LAI).
Becoming a volunteer for Letters Against Isolation – getting involved
Anyone is welcome to sign up to write letters as a volunteer for Letters Against Isolation. The Letters Against Isolation Facebook Group has helped connect over 2,000 members worldwide who share ideas and photos of handwritten letters.
Letters Against Isolation has partnered with many companies, schools, churches, corporations, and non-profit organizations. Therefore, ensuring that as many lonely seniors can be reached as possible.
Reaching out to thousands across the world – a global effort making a meaningful difference
As the Letters Against Isolation campaign rose in popularity, what once started as simply two sisters writing some letters turned into an award-winning non-profit organization.
Now, their mission has grown to fight loneliness across the world with letters including personal and handwritten messages of hope, love, and joy.
Over two years, Letters Against Isolation’s 28,000 volunteers have written more than 460,000 letters to seniors in various countries such as the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, Israel, and South Africa.
The Patels have revealed how they’ve been impressed with how humanity has come through the pandemic to look after the most vulnerable.
They said, “It would have been really easy for people to lean into that fear and only care for themselves. We have been struck by just how many people instead reached out and tried to do some good.”