Pen pal program creates new friendships between Fresno seniors, kids during COVID-19 | #covid19 | #kids | #childern

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — A retirement community in North Fresno has found a new way to lift residents’ spirits.Eva McBride keeps a hand-painted box on her desk. It’s filled with letters from her new pen pal, Sophie.

“When I bring the letters to Eva, it’s my favorite thing to run in with a letter. And Eva always stops whatever she’s doing, and she’s like, ‘let’s read it, let’s do this,” said Lifestyle Enrichment Manager at The Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens, Melissa Sanders.When the coronavirus pandemic forced the Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens to shut their doors to volunteers and visitors several months ago, residents missed the social interaction.

“Everything has changed a lot this year, and of course, it’s always changing, but we don’t know what’s ahead of us,” said resident Eva McBride.

The community launched a pen pal program, pairing 30 residents with team members’ children, like Sophie and her sister Chloe.

“It makes me feel happy because I have a pen pal, and I was really excited to write back and hear from them,” said Eva’s pen pal, Sophie Hamett.

“Sometimes I write about what I like and pets and what’s been going on during quarantine,” said her sister, Chloe Hamett.

The new friends exchange at least one letter per week.

“I don’t even get the letters, and I love it,” said Sanders. “These girls and Eva and all the other residents put so much work into these.”

They started the pen pal program about a month ago and say they have no plans of stopping any time soon.

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