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February 26 is National Letter to an Elder Day, a holiday celebrated by sending an elder a handwritten letter of love. National Letter to an Elder Day was started by Love For Our Elders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting loneliness with love among senior communities. This day comes once a year to honor the art of letter-writing as a way to send love, one letter at a time!
History of Letter to an Elder Day
A single handwritten letter has the power to change someone’s day, week, month, or even life. It’s a powerful way to communicate and build relationships. Everyone deserves to feel loved, and Letter to an Elder Day was first celebrated by Love For Our Elders’ volunteers in 2020 to encourage letter writing and intergenerational connections after the holiday season, which can be particularly lonely for elders.
Love For Our Elders began with a young boy and his grandpa. When Jacob Cramer lost his grandfather, he began to volunteer at a local senior living community as a way of honoring his memory. He was lovingly referred to as “Bingo Boy” because of his entertaining and lively way of calling the community’s bingo game (a much heated affair he’s sure to tell you). During his time volunteering, he discovered that many of the residents rarely received messages or visitors from family and friends and that loneliness was a chronic and ever-present problem.
So he decided to start writing letters of love to senior communities; quickly, his moniker changed from Bingo Boy to Letter Boy. He found grace and love in his relationships with his friends in the senior community and eventually decided that he could take his letter writing efforts national. Jacob created a nonprofit that urged people to write letters to elders (or anyone else in need who are older than they are) and facilitated delivery to seniors around the world.
Since 2013, Jacob and his team have amassed an army of 50,000+ letter writers around the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they branched out to collect video messages of hope, love, and encouragement, created public awareness campaigns, and engaged individuals, classrooms, and companies.
National Letter to an Elder Day is held on February 26 to coincide with the birthday of Jacob’s grandmother, Doris.
Letter to an Elder Day timeline
Love For Our Elders partnered with more than 1,000 senior communities to share handwritten and video letters of love.
Love For Our Elders launches National Letter to an Elder Day in order to encourage sending notes of love to elders who are experiencing loneliness.
Love For Our Elders sent more than 100,000 letters during its first three years.
The organization spearheaded a pen pal program connecting seniors in the U.S. with students in Brazil who were learning English.
Realizing that he could take his letter writing efforts national, Jacob created the nonprofit Love For Our Elders to encourage others around the country and the world to reach out to seniors.
Jacob Cramer began writing letters to the seniors in his community to relieve some of the chronic loneliness they were experiencing.
Letter to an Elder Day FAQs
What should you write in a letter to an elder?
Think about what you’d like to read in a letter! Be creative – tell a joke, talk about yourself, ask questions, or just send words of encouragement. It’s the connection that truly matters. Visit loveforourelders.org for more.
What do you need to write a letter to an elder?
The nice part about writing a handwritten letter to an elder is that all it takes is some paper, a pen, an envelope, and a stamp. With those four simple things, you can improve someone’s day. Find out their address from other relatives or take part in a letter writing campaign like Love For Our Elders. Visit loveforourelders.org for more.
How do you show love to elders?
There are a myriad of ways to show love to elders. Obviously, writing them a letter is one, but so is visiting them, calling them on the phone (or Facetime if they’re tech savvy) or even helping them around the house. Showing love with simple acts of kindness and affection is somehow always the best way. Visit loveforourelders.org for more.
How to Observe Letter to an Elder Day
Join a letter writing campaign
The simplest and maybe most effective way to take part is to join Love For Our Elders' efforts on February 26th and send a letter to an elder. It’s a simple but effective approach that we promise will have you yearning to find more ways to help.
Host a Letter Writing Party
There’s nothing like a small group of people getting together to accomplish something and hosting a letter writing party can really help you and the elders you’re writing to.
Reach Out to the Elders in Your Life
Maybe writing a letter isn’t exactly your thing, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking part in celebrating our elders. You can visit, send a voicemail, have a call, or even share a video (seniors have smartphones too, ya know). Reaching out is all that matters!
Why Letter to an Elder Day is Important
It Reminds Us How Far Simple Acts of Kindness Can Go
A handwritten letter is powerful. Receiving a handwritten letter can help someone feel connected, especially if they’re experiencing loneliness. This day shows that a simple act of kindness can make all the difference.
It Helps Us Best Understand How to Get Involved
We all have great intentions but sometimes don’t know how to see them through. National Letter to an Elder Day makes it easy to take part in a letter writing campaign and do something that will make a serious impact on someone in need.
It Can Help Spur Even More Acts of Generosity
Helping people is contagious. The more you do it, the more you will want to do it, and National Letter to an Elder Day helps kickstart that effort, particularly in young people who are most likely to develop good habits and great hearts.
Letter to an Elder Day dates