Labor of love

Jenna L. Stiles of Massena took part in the inaugural St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau Valentine’s Day card drive in 2021. Here, she poses with some of the 300 Valentine’s Day cards she and her mom made for senior citizens in the area. Courtesy of Joanne Stiles

The St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau, in partnership with the Office for the Aging, will once again host the annual Valentine’s Day Card Drive, an initiative to benefit senior citizens living in St. Lawrence County.

The Youth Bureau and the Office for the Aging are asking students from kindergarten through 12th grade to submit Valentine’s themed artwork, notes, and cards which will then be sent to senior citizens throughout the county.

“We really just want to be able to spread love, care, and connection to adults that may be alone,” said Youth Bureau Executive Director Alexa Backus Chase. “We’re able to send cards to older adults through the Office for the Aging and we also disburse cards to long-term care facilities and area hospitals.”

Mrs. Backus Chase noted that Valentine’s Day is a particularly difficult holiday for older adults who are not able to visit their friends or family members and can sometimes cause feelings of depression, loneliness, and anxiety.

“We started the card drives about three years ago during the COVID pandemic when there was very limited ability for people to see one another,” said Mrs. Backus Chase. “Due to the isolation adults were facing, we wanted to try to prevent some of the loneliness and depression the pandemic was causing.”

Since card drives were received well from the community during the coronavirus pandemic, The Youth Bureau and the Office for the Aging decided to continue to do them.

“It’s very well received in the north country,” said Ms. Backus Chase. “They absolutely love it.”

This year, Ms. Backus Chase is looking for 2,500 Valentine’s Day cards to distribute to seniors throughout the community.

“We’re showing our older adults in St. Lawrence County that they are appreciated and valued,” said Ms. Backus Chase. “Also with our school age students, it helps them to feel like they’re part of the community and part of the bigger picture. I think it helps them to feel valued as well.”

Students can submit their artwork, notes, and cards by Feb. 10 to the Youth Bureau, 80 State Highway 310 Suite 4 in Canton. Adults are also welcome to submit cards.

Residents living in assisted living and long-term care facilities can also receive Valentines. Contact the Youth Bureau to be added to its disbursement list.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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