Marilyn Hunt, co-ordinator of the Sending Love initiative in Wairarapa. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

Hayley Gastmeier

Marilyn Hunt, of Carterton, is determined no one in Wairarapa gets forgotten this Christmas.

She has set up collection boxes around the region where people can drop off Christmas cards, which she will hand deliver to those who might be feeling lonely during this festive season.

Marilyn is the Wairarapa co-ordinator for Sending Love, which was launched in 2017 by Hannah Rodgers and her son, Jayden.

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.

In that first year, the pair’s initiative had 32,000 people in rest homes, hospitals, Meals on Wheels, homeless shelters, Women’s Refuge and hospices receive hand-written cards. The following year, they delivered more than 55,000.

Marilyn heard what the Auckland mother and son were up to and brought the idea to Wairarapa last year, when she dished out 960 cards to residents.

“It’s the community coming together and it’s just a real feel good thing,” Marilyn said.

“Some messages are simple, some people write about what they’re doing over Christmas.

“I’m just encouraging people to put love into it.”

Marilyn said the aim was to make people “feel thought of at a time when people can be quite lonely”.

She has been in touch with Wairarapa schools encouraging children to get involved.

People can drop off a card containing a message to Sending Love boxes, which are located at St Teresa’s School in Featherston, the Wairarapa Times-Age office on Chapel St, the Masterton, Greytown and Martinborough libraries, Almo Books in Carterton, and the cafeteria at Wairarapa Hospital.

Marilyn will be picking up the boxes on December 8.

Then she will sort the cards and deliver them to the region’s foodbanks, rest homes, Women’s Refuge, Idea Services, Wairarapa Hospital and the hospice, among other organisations.

Cards will also be given out at the Community Christmas Dinner.