‘You have mail' is good news for seniors at Christmas

Billie Owens

Some seniors at Elm Manor nursing home can’t see their lovely Christmas cards very well. Others can’t hear the cards’ sentiments clearly when they are read aloud.

But that’s hardly the point of a yearly Christmas card campaign by volunteers to delight shut-ins and the elderly, people who might otherwise receive nothing.

Anne Erdle, who started the effort, handled the details for more than 30 years. This season, she passed the baton to Flint resident Lynda Millerd.

For such a simple and inexpensive process as sending out cards, the rewards are great.

“It was the one thing I could do from my home, and I know there’s just a lot of elderly people that get forgotten,” Millerd said. “With all the hubbub of the holidays, people get busy with their own families, and others are sometimes forgotten.”

Millerd gathers names of recipients by contacting adult-care facilities in the Canandaigua area. She passes them along to volunteers who buy their own cards and either mail them at their own expense or deliver them in person to the facility.

Senders can provide cards to a specific location if they like. They often call Millerd back and ask for more names.

The 16 or so volunteers were given the names a little earlier this year, in November, and 200 cards have been sent so far.

Barbara Wightman is an activities assistant at Elm Manor and she distributes the cards there every year.

“They enjoy them so much,” Wightman said. “Sometimes they are puzzled and ask ‘Well, who is it?’ and I say, ‘Honey, it’s just a friend.’”

Millerd says she would like to spread the card campaign to other communities, but for now she’s taking a wait-and-see approach.

“I think it’s a great idea, and a lot of local people have stepped up to the plate to take part in it,” the newly anointed organizer said.

Those interested in participating can call her at (585) 526-6923 or send correspondence to her at 3591 Flint Road, Stanley, 14561.

Contact Daily Messenger writer Billie Owens at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 320, or at bowens@mpnewspapers.com.