Amy Hamilton: Crafting for a cause

Valentine’s Day is an excellent time to reflect on how wonderful it feels to receive cards from family and friends, particularly when you’re not expecting it.

I have a friend who sends me cards and drawings from her children. I love seeing their artwork, mainly because I haven’t seen them much over the past two years. During these difficult times, connecting with family, friends and neighbors is a challenge at best, but especially so for residents of nursing homes where visitors and visiting hours change to reflect the residents’ health needs.

Many nursing homes and assisted living residents may not have regular visitors, and they rely on their facility’s activity directors or community organizations to provide company and entertainment. The Johnson County Public Library visits many local nursing homes to provide books and programs to the residents. JCPL-to-Your-Door is a service provided for homebound Johnson County residents, even in their own homes. For more information or to sign-up, call your local library branch.

Many communities around the country have started delivering letters, cards and gifts to seniors in nursing homes because they cannot visit in person. For example, one North Carolina community sent more than 5,000 cards to nursing homes across Charlotte in 2021. On Valentine’s Day, Johnson County Public Library staff will deliver handmade valentines to nursing homes in Johnson County. All ages are welcome to create valentine cards, drawings or any paper art to give to residents.

The Johnson County Public Library offers multiple ways to participate. From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the White River Branch, drop in and create a valentine or two from provided craft supplies. This program is open to families and all ages. We will also accept additional valentines you make at home at all four library branches; each location will have a box where you can drop them off. The branches will also have coloring sheets available for children and adults to color and contribute to the cards we will deliver.

According to AARP, more than 2 million seniors live in residential care across the United States. Johnson County may have a small slice of our population in residential care, but we can reach out and support our seniors. This Valentine’s Day, help make seniors feel cherished and know they are loved and valued members of our community with the small but powerful gesture of a handmade card.