By Ben Olson
Last year, Donna Price hoped to collect about 200 Valentine’s cards from the community to distribute to local senior centers and assisted living facilities.
“I originally had just contacted the Sandpoint Senior Center and they said they needed about 200 cards,” Price told the Reader. “I knew I couldn’t deliver that many myself, so that’s when I reached out to the community. ”
Through social media, local newspapers and word of mouth, the Bonner County Valentine’s Cards for Seniors went viral.
“By the end of the collection period, we got 1,400 cards,” she said.
Back for its second year, the program is one of those ideas that’s hard not to love. Price puts the call out to the community for anyone interested to create or purchase Valentine’s cards to distribute among the elderly population of Bonner County. Several baskets have been dropped off to businesses scattered throughout the county to collect cards, which will then be distributed to senior centers and assisted living facilities on Valentine’s Day to ensure everyone receives a little love.
“When you drop off your cards, please make sure to thank the businesses,” Price told the Reader. “Without them, I couldn’t get all the cards collected. Also, many of the business owners and employees added cards to the collection last year.”
Price said the inaugural Valentine card drive last year was so successful it brought tears to her eyes.
“The cards were all amazing last year, both handmade and store bought,” she said. “Some of the messages brought tears to my eyes, so I have my box of Kleenex ready.”
Those interested in creating or purchasing cards for the program can drop the finished items at a variety of locations throughout Bonner County. In Sagle: Java Bear, Pierce Auto, the Sagle Post Office, Sagle Elementary School and Fry Creek Animal Clinic. In Ponderay: Cafe 95, Verizon and Fiesta Bonita. In Sandpoint: Sharon’s Hallmark, Spuds, MickDuff’s, Finan McDonald, Bluebird Bakery, Panhandle Cone & Coffee, Jalapeño’s, Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters, Sandpoint Super Drug, Kokanee Coffee, Litehouse YMCA, Monarch Mountain Coffee, Cat Sanctuary Thrift Store, Christ Our Redeemer Church, Missi Balison Fitness and Miller’s Country Store.
After last year’s successful drive, Price said she received feedback from many of the facilities, as well as family members.
“They all thanked us for the thoughtful gesture,” she said. “They had no idea it was happening. You know, with some of these folks with dementia and in hospice, some of them aren’t with us this year. This is a way to make sure they were not forgotten, that we still keep them in our hearts.
Price, who worked in juvenile probation for 28 years before retiring, this program is a way to spread love to those who deserve our love and respect. She said she’s touched that so many people participated last year, and hopes for another banner year this time around.
“There are kids at the YMCA right now coloring pictures, which we’ll distribute as well,” she said. “I’ve got a school in Clark Fork taking care of the Clark Fork Senior Center out there. The sixth-grade class is doing it. Now I’ve got people mailing me cards from out of state — from Missouri and California. Word just spreads. When this community rallies behind a cause, we really do amazing things.”
To participate in the Bonner County Valentine’s Cards for Seniors program, make or purchase Valentines and drop them at the aforementioned locations in Sandpoint, Ponderay and Sagle. Those with questions can contact Donna Price [email protected]
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