When St. Joseph Healthcare presented a humble request for 70 handmade Valentine cards from Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board secondary students, the call was met almost 50 times over.
Organized by Christian Service Animators and HWCDSB Christian Service Webmaster Lucia Marchionda, over 220 students stepped up to provide their creative services in the form of cards and colouring sheets for both staff and patients of St. Joseph.
“In this period of constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been much more difficult for students who are looking to contribute Christian Service within the community to find opportunities to do so,” said Program Leader for Religion and Family Life Dr. Paul Beaudette.
“Most of the initiatives and events to which students would typically contribute their time and energy, both within the school and the wider community, have been cancelled or significantly curtailed due to social distancing requirements.”
But while in-person Christian Service opportunities have been limited, those on the receiving end are just as grateful for any form of support or act of kindness.
In total, 3,425 cards were created.
Due to the generous outpour of love, student-created Valentines messages were able to be distributed to the following organizations, in addition to St. Joseph: St. Patrick’s De Mazenod Door Outreach Program, McMaster Children’s Hospital, St. Peter’s Hospital, Wellwood Juravinski House, Humber River Hospital, and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences.
“We are very appreciative to the staff and students at the HWCDSB for their abundance of kindness in their recent initiative to virtually deliver Valentine’s Day cards to our staff and patients here at Hamilton Health Sciences,” said Morgan Richardson, Site Lead, Multi-Site Screening, Coordinator, Volunteer Resources at St. Peter’s Hospital stated.
“Our days become a little brighter, knowing that the community continues to rally and keep us close to their hearts.”
This isn’t the first time student-made cards have lifted the spirits of certain Hamiltonians.
During the Christmas holidays, over 2,200 Christmas greetings and uplifting messages in the form of letters, cards and colouring pages were distributed to front-line workers and patients at local health care facilities, including St. Peter’s Hospital and McMaster Children’s Hospital.
“It’s wonderful to see a community of caring people come together,” said Susan Zidaric Seymour of St. Joseph’s Healthcare.
“Heartfelt thanks to everyone for making this happen and sharing some love with our patients and staff.”