'After the rain comes the rainbow': Kids connect with seniors amidst pandemic
WEST LORNE, ONT. -- Many of their letters and pictures have simple messages, including “Have a great day!” and “Don’t worry be happy!”
But some, written and created by elementary students in places like West Lorne and Dutton. carry more detailed words of encouragement.
All are aimed at seniors, who like the children themselves, feel especially isolated amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
That reality is the crux of a new initiative started by the West Elgin Community Health Centre.
Staff members Cindy da Costa and Kristyn Munroe, wanted to find ways to stay connected to the children they support as Early Childhood Educators.
They soon came up with the unique plan of asking local kindergarten to Grade six students to create positive pictures and prose for seniors in the Meals on Wheels Program.
da Costa says it benefits both age groups.
“Well I think both of them would be definitely socially isolated right now, so I think by receiving a letter from the children, the seniors will be happy and know that someone is caring for them and there is someone who’s out there thinking of them."
Accompanied by a meal, the letters arrived addressed with the words “To my Friend.”
“We’ve sent out five or six new every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to all our meals on wheels clients."
Ivan Thompson, of Dutton, is one senior who says his days in isolation have been brightened by the letters.
“They’re so beautiful. The kids do it with honestly from their hearts."
About 30 seniors so far, have received the letters.
da Costa says the program could still grow locally.
However, given the feedback she’s received from the kids, their teachers, and the seniors, she is more hopeful it will spread to other centres.
“I’m sure it’s possible there may be someone out there doing it, but if not, I’m sure that it will catch on."
It's a prediction Ivan Thompson shares.
“Seniors need the younger children around them and this…this is a nice gesture [to do that amidst the pandemic."
The program was partially funded by the Elgin-Middlesex United Way.