Haydee Allanson, 9, from St Patrick’s School in Masterton at the library drop-off box. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

ELISA VORSTER

elisa.vorster@age.co.nz

Last year, Hannah Rodgers’ Christmas card list had 32,000 people on it.

This year, Rodgers and her son, Jayden, are hoping to send 100,000 cards around New Zealand with help from the Times-Age, St Teresa’s School in Featherston and the Masterton District Library.

Rodgers’ initiative, Sending Love, distributes Christmas cards written by everyday Kiwis to those who might be feeling lonely during the festive season.

The idea stemmed from the ‘100 Days of Kindness’ project, when Jayden suggested they write a card for someone who might feel lonely at Christmas.

“Last year, we were hoping to get a few cards from the local community to spread a bit more love,” Rodgers said.

The Sending Love drop box at the Wairarapa Times-Age building.

“But we were overwhelmed by how many people got involved with making and writing cards for someone who might need it.

“In five weeks, we were able to give a card to as many people we could find in rest homes and hospitals across New Zealand.”

This year, the ambition is to get a card into the hands of the 250,000 lonely Kiwis via Meals on Wheels, homeless shelters, Women’s Refuge, RSAs and hospitals, as well as rest homes and other organisations.

St Teresa’s School teacher Carrie Watson said the school decided to get involved as part of its term project on displaying kaitiakitanga – becoming responsible guardians.

“Each class picks things to look after and care for,” she said.

“We saw it on Facebook and thought it was a really cool thing to do.”

The students have already decorated a tinsel box for the drop-off point in the school foyer and have left flyers around town encouraging others to take part.

Watson said the project taught pupils to care about others and helped remove the commercialism from Christmas.

“Because it’s someone they don’t know, it gets them to think about how someone who is alone might feel and takes away the self-centred thing that can happen with kids at Christmas.”

To participate in Sending Love, drop off a card containing a message to the Wairarapa Times-Age office on Chapel St, the Masterton District Library or St Teresa’s School in Featherston, or send it to PO Box 90-701, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142 by December 9.

All cards dropped off at the Wairarapa locations will be distributed locally.

People wanting to volunteer with card collection and distribution can enquire online at: www.sendinglove.co.nz

Tips for cards:

Make sure your card is filled with love

Make it as creative as you can

Ensure it has a legible message. lf a child’s words are illegible, write in brackets underneath

Keep your envelope unsealed to give the rest homes discretion to check cards if they choose