The movement of sending Christmas cards to lonely seniors has turned into a tidal wave, with homes receiving in the thousands and citizens writing in the hundreds.
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“Today we received two pockets of letters […] Every hour, it rings, “says Claire Moreau, director of the Sainte-Thomas-d’Aquin residence in Saint-Hyacinthe, which is inundated with cards and gifts from citizens.
It all started in early December, when a Gatineau nurse’s initiative went viral. Due to the pandemic, visits are prohibited and loneliness is increased tenfold. She therefore photographed the residents of Chateau Symmes with the address of the center so that they could receive cards.
Residents have since received more than 40,000 cards, including some from across the world, according to QMI.
However, the movement is spreading to many establishments.
Andréanne Labelle, 17, and Chantal Parent, 31, work in a service station in Saint-Lin – Laurentides.
Touched by the idea, they designed and handwritten no less than 224 diverse maps. It took them two weeks.
“I was at the end of the semester, I had exams and 800-word essays to write, but I absolutely wanted to do it. It meant too much to me, ”says the CEGEP student.
She did a few days of volunteering at the CHSLD de Saint-Jérôme this summer. It was therefore at the reception of this establishment that the card pocket was handed over.
400 … per resident
They are far from the only ones to have embarked, notes Annie Côté, founder of the Facebook page “RESILIENCE” lash your lights “”, which has more than 300,000 members.
“It takes on proportions that we are not able to measure,” she said. “We have people who send us pictures of cards [qu’ils fabriquent], who tell us “I did this all weekend”. “
She believes that, on the one hand, the tragedy of the COVID-19 outbreaks in CHSLDs has “traumatized” people. On the other hand, the concept of sending cards is a gesture within everyone’s reach.
At Groupe Sélection, we have noticed an increase in the number of cards received compared to previous years. For example, the Sélection Île-des-Sœurs residence received 250 cards from schoolchildren, illustrious Mylène Dupéré, vice-president of public affairs.
At the Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin residence, where the viral concept was reproduced, it was the tsunami.
“We have reached 5000 cards and we have as many gifts,” says Claire Moreau. “That’s over 400 per resident.”
However, care must be taken before sending cards, particularly in CHSLDs, where many residents are cognitively mortgaged, recalls Marc Rochefort, from the Provincial Regroupement des Committees des Users.
“Managers who tell me: we received 200 Christmas cards and we don’t know what to do with it,” he explains.
Still, for some, these cards aim in the mile, note Mme Moreau. Some residents cry with joy, others exclaim “come on!” Incredulous at each new surprise.