Pen Pals Sharing Messages Of Hope

November Sheehan at the Corlette Store Pen Pals drop box. Photo by Marian Sampson.


ONE local is on a mission to connect with the Port’s elderly during the COVID-19 crisis.

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November Sheehan has created a way for all of us to enhance the connection that residents in our nursing homes have with the wider community.

Pen Pals is a simple way for us to send a message or an uplifting story to residents that have been missing visits from families.

Anyone can get involved.

It is simple, write a letter, a story or some words of hope for the residents and drop it in one of the Pen Pals boxes around the region.

Port Stephens Libraries have boxes in the branches and staff have some lovely handmade cards that can be collected for your next message of hope.

November was inspired to do something after finding the weekly postcards that she had sent her mother, kept close to her bed in chronological order.

The way her mum had kept the cards and letters showed November that these simple letters that had arrived in the mail had enhanced her mother’s life.

Given the strict lockdowns and difficulties that residents in nursing homes are enduring through the pandemic November wanted to do something similar for them.

There are 1600 residents waiting for our messages.

Some of the local schools are on board, with students from year six upwards contributing to the project.

November has developed packs for schools and community groups.

Local artists have been donating cards, and businesses like Corlette Store are hosting the Pen Pals boxes to help get the letters to those in need.

November Sheehan told News Of The Area, “I wanted to involve the whole community, with something that you can do simply.

“Write a letter about a holiday, or a positive story to share.”

She believes that doing something positive for others, helps all of us to build our resilience and mental health.

Going into the businesses to drop off cards, may also prompt people to buy something in a local business while they are there.

November said that some of the responses have been heart wrenching.

“I was blue this morning and this has lifted me so high, I am keeping the letter next to my bed and I look at it daily,” said one letter recipient.

“I don’t want anyone to leave without knowing that someone cared,” November said.

You can help to make a difference in the lives of the elderly living within Port Stephens nursing homes by writing a letter or card and dropping it off.

There is a list of all the Pen Pals drop off boxes on the Pen Pals Facebook page.

November believes that something beautiful should be part of every person’s day.



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