Letters from Home was founded in 2001 for the sole purpose of giving senior citizens who are shut-ins and those in nursing homes the feeling they had not been forgotten. It is a unique service to give these individuals something to look forward to on a regular basis at their mailbox.
Regularly upbeat positive letters go across the country to over 350 addresses. The two page letters provided in large, easy to read 18-point type bring a message about a family who has “adopted” the Senior. Each letter is personalized, newsy, filled with family fun and designed to stimulate past recollections of happy times in their life for the retiree to dwell upon. The majority of the letters include a “Thought or the Day” which is uplifting and thought provoking.
Each letter focuses on a topic surrounding either family life or the retiree. The purpose is to remind the aging person of a positive, fun time or place in their past. This hopefully stimulates their mental processes and provides spirit renewal. In one of the early letters we encourage the recipient to share the letters with other people, which brings about more mental stimulation. We have received letters from sons and daughters of these individuals praising us for the work we do. They have told us that the letters have become a Springboard for Discussion with their parents … that they have learned things about their folks they never knew before because of something in the letter that sparked a distant memory.
However, individuals who have no one to communicate with them, no one to make them feel part of the outside world, no one to make them feel special benefit the most from these communiqués. Although the age group we service is in their “Golden Years” too often they are the “Lonely Years.” Helping them to remain mentally active is one of our goals.
The letters are written by one person for continuity and have a serial type of a feel to them. The “Family” members are followed as they experience various milestones in their lives, i.e., schooling, marrying, having children. In addition, the recipient is asked to recall personal events in their life that impacted them. They’re asked to recall happy memories from their childhood and young adult life such as holiday gatherings, their favorite childhood games, their first job. Everyone can relate to incidents of family life like descriptions of a little one tasting chocolate for the first time; teaching a child to decorate holiday cookies, picnicking with the family. These are things all of us experience but sometimes need coaxing to help someone recall them. It’s these happy recollections that help both men and women to dwell upon positive memories.
That’s the purpose of Letters from Home … to bring some level of joy and positive memories with each letter.
Although Letters from Home, Inc. is a small organization we have reach well over 2500 individuals in our nine years of operation. Our goal is to bring joy to 4,000 seniors or more throughout the country.
When we first began this project it was funded by a $5,000 grant from the “Thanks Be To Grandmother Winifred” Foundation who was supported by the Upjohn Chemical Corp. With the approval of the Grantor we used the final funds of the grant to become a non-profit organization recognized by the IRS and State government.
Since 2007 we have been funded by individuals… family member and friends … through tax-deductible donations. In addition we have received matching fund donations from organizations such as Microsoft and National Coating, a Ventura County California based organization. Single Source Print and Graphics, also in Ventura County, provides all of the paper materials we need for our project.
Our main need for funding is for postage to send our snail-mail letters in addition to some new equipment to print out the two-sided letters. A grant for $5,000 to $8,000 would be perfect and keep us going for at least one to two years. But grants are hard to come by these days so it’s any sized donation that are so appreciated and have kept us going these past 9+ years. All donations to Letters from Home, Inc. are tax deductible.