Uplifting letters sent to Riverside retirement community helps residents feel connected during pandemic

Thousands of letters sent to a Riverside retirement community have helped residents feel connected during the coronavirus pandemic.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- The coronavirus pandemic has been especially hard for retired living communities.

A volunteer effort is helping some residents feel connected after being isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The last several months haven't been easy for people living in Westmont Village, a senior community located in Riverside, but they've received more than 2,000 letters that have helped lift their spirits.

Letters Against Isolation was started amid the pandemic by two sisters in Massachusetts. It had simple beginnings. They wanted to cheer up their own grandparents. But then the idea took off, and they've been sending mail to seniors and complete strangers across the nation.

"We intend to continue to send the letters and cards after the pandemic is over because senior loneliness is not something that's going to go away," said Saffron Patel, co-founder of Letters Against Isolation.

Even though Christina Miller and other residents don't personally know who wrote each card, it helps lift their spirits.

"They always have little pictures, they have little happy faces," said Miller.

For Martha Gonzalez, who's been unable to see many family members in Mexico, she says it's nice to know someone out there took the time.

"Millions across the country care about you," one letter to Gonzalez said. "We'll get through this together, Julia, a teenager from Cambridge, Massachusetts."

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