Pen pals help elderly stave off loneliness

A new pen pal initiative has been set up in Christchurch for rest home residents in a bid to combat loneliness during the lockdown.

Rest homes are unable to accept visitors - including family members - so Papanui resident Vicki-Anne Parker, who helps run the “NZ Gifts of Love and Strength” Facebook page, organised the pen pal system.

She wants to bring a smile to the faces of those feeling lonely in rest homes.

“I saw a post on Facebook and realised how much joy kids get out of doing art, and how lonely a lot of people are in rest homes, especially since the earthquakes,” she said.

“To be able to match someone in a rest home with someone in the community who might not have grandparents is very special.”

The NZ Gifts of Love Facebook page was created in response to the March 15 mosque attacks to primarily assist those who are most in need.

The charity, based in New Brighton, has helped people who have had house fires, illnesses and car crashes.

Recently it helped feed 100 children per day from South New Brighton School while the site was closed due to a fire.

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