Community members decorate cards for seniors at Valentine’s Day event


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Community members decorate cards for seniors at Valentine's Day event

Community members decorate cards for seniors at Valentine’s Day event

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On Saturday, Bloomington residents celebrated Valentine’s Day with sparkling hearts and kind words as they made cards for the community’s seniors.

The event, titled “Love Notes for the Win,” is hosted by Miss National Bloomington 2021-22 Anurika Enyiaku, Anurika’s mother Jessica Enyiaku, and Amie Crites, a Bloomington resident and cosmic love game director creator.The event takes place at Morgenstern’s Bookstore & Café from 11am to 3pm

Love Notes for the Win gave attendees the opportunity to decorate Valentine’s Day-themed cards to uplift those struggling with loneliness and depression in nursing homes and nursing facilities.

Anurika, 6, started collecting cards for seniors last year through her “Tell-A-Grand” program. The idea for the program was born last year when a card was made to send to her uncle’s nursing home, where visitors were restricted due to the pandemic.

“He was really sad, and sometimes in nursing homes, they usually didn’t have anyone to accompany or visit or anything, so we sent him a card,” Anariku said. “Then I decided we should do the same for everyone else.”

The pair were inspired to turn a single card into a sport to help others. Since Tell-A-Grand started, they have placed drop boxes all over the city at O’Child Children’s Boutique, City Church for All Nations and Morgenstern’s. They also opened a PO Box last November.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, Jessica and Analiku decided to make a special push for donations. They teamed up with Amie Crites, who is also looking for ways to celebrate in the community. Since 2016, Crites has been spreading cards with messages of encouragement across the city and created A Cosmic Game of Love, a set of 42 cards with positive affirmations and calls to action on each card.

Critters says some of the best experiences in her life have come from loving and being loved by strangers.

“I just think with everything going on in the world, it’s important to make love louder,” she said.

During the event, a table was stocked with craft supplies such as colorful markers, red and white construction paper and sparkling heart stickers. 220 store-bought cards are also available, with words like “Let Happiness Bloom” on the front. Attendees sit and chat, decorate cards, cut paper hearts, draw and write notes.

Bloomington resident Deborah Ensmenger said she read about the event in a Herald-Times article and wanted to attend because she and her daughter Lily often make cards for similar reasons.

“There are a lot of people who are lonely and have no one in their lives that affirms them, so even if it’s a stranger, it’s really impactful,” she said.

Lily, 8, drew a rainbow of purple, pink and blue on one of the cards and said “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Deborah said events like this set a positive example for her daughter.

Anurika initially said her goal for the event was to collect 20 cards to give away. At the end of the event, community members such as Anurika, Amie and others made a total of 116 cards.

The goal, Jessica said, is to make cards for holidays and birthdays throughout the year. They also eventually hope to see the effort expand beyond Bloomington, she said.

“We just wanted to be able to spread the word and bring some awareness,” she said. “And to help people see that just four minutes to make a card can really make a huge difference.”

Jessica and Anurika will hand out the cards to seniors around Monroe County on Monday, while Crites will hand them out to strangers and drop them in random spots around town. Card donations can be delivered to a drop box or mailed to the mailboxes of Anurika and Jessica, Tell-A-Grand, PO Box 804, Bloomington, IN 47402.

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