Letters sent to St. Paul’s Senior Services. Courtesy photo

San Diego’s senior community is hurting after the worldwide pandemic separated the elderly population from many of their loved ones.

Cheryl Wilson, CEO of St. Paul’s Senior Services in San Diego, said her nonprofit wants the public’s help in reducing the impact on its residents. She encouraged the public to send letters, cards or puzzles to help uplift the population that is most at-risk of being infected by the new coronavirus.

“It has been difficult for our residents and participants,” Wilson said. “We have been creative in our ways to keep them engaged and active while practicing social distancing and taking safety precautions. Still, it is hard for them not to be able to see their family or friends, and it’s hard on the families too.”

St. Paul’s Senior Services, which works with seniors throughout the region, recently launched its “Sunshine For Seniors” program to lift the spirits of senior residents socially distanced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program coincides with National Volunteer Week where the public is encouraged to work with nonprofits.

A St. Paul’s Senior Services resident receives a letter. Courtesy photo

“This program was launched to keep our residents and St. Paul’s PACE participants socially connected during this difficult time,” Wilson said. “Since our volunteer program normally entails in-person exchanges, we had to get creative, given the current circumstances and guidelines. This program gives the many people who have expressed wanting to help out in any way they can, a way to do so from the comfort of their own homes.”

So far, St. Paul’s has received an assortment of mail that have cheered up its residents. People are also sharing videos on social media.

“Our seniors have received many cards, letters, colored pictures from children, and a lot of coloring and puzzle books,” said Wilson, whose grandson’s class also sent more than 100 letters. “It has been wonderful to receive so many in just the short time we’ve had this program launched. Our seniors really appreciate it.”

With only essential staff allowed to visit the communities during these unchartered times, the senior residents would welcome these well-wishes as isolation can be most difficult for seniors with many adverse health effects, the nonprofit said.

“Receiving cards or letters makes a huge impact,” Wilson said. “It makes them feel loved, appreciated, and reminds them they are not alone or forgotten during this time.”

San Diegans are asked to send mail directly to:
Attn: Sunshine for Seniors
St. Paul’s Senior Services
328 Maple Street
San Diego, CA 92103

Participants are also welcome to share videos and photos on social media by tagging @StPaulsSeniorServices on Facebook and Instagram while, also using the hashtags #StayHomeForSeniors and #SunshineForSeniors.

For more information, go to www.stpaulseniors.org/sunshine-for-seniors/ or call (619) 239-6900.