Words full of love in a Christmas card is all it can take to help make someone's festive season that bit more special, and the Rotorua community is being encouraged to do just that.
Sending Love is a movement about people and communities coming together to make a festive gesture towards another person who may experience loneliness over Christmas.
It involves people writing or making a Christmas card, which will then be delivered to local rest homes.
Rotorua key volunteer Helen Brumby says Sending Love was started in November last year by a lady in Auckland whose 5-year-old son wanted to write a card for someone who would be lonely at Christmas and would not receive cards.
By Christmas, 32,000 cards had been collected nationally and distributed to rest homes throughout the country.
Helen says the response has been great so far this year.
A card making session was held last Saturday at the Rotorua Library where people made 113 cards.
Helen says part of what brought her to the Sending Love platform was that when her own grandmother was in a rest home she could have multiple visitors in a day, but there were some elders who rarely had visitors.
"Of course we always let them join in on our storytelling, but it was quite an eye opener.
"Community is really important and we need to make sure that everybody is getting love. There are a lot of people out there who have got love to share."
She says they are keen to hear from people happy to volunteer for card deliveries.
Rotorua's Brooke McCann went along to the card making session last Saturday with her two daughters Clodagh McCann, 7, and Zoe McCann, 4.
She says she decided to bring them along and get behind Sending Love because she also saw when visiting her grandparents at a rest home that there were people with no visitors and it felt lonely.
Brooke says that be all year around too, not just at Christmas.
"Everybody loves getting mail when it's not a bill."
Clodagh and Zoe say making the cards was fun, with Clodagh's featuring snowflakes and a star, and Zoe's a rainbow Christmas tree.
"You're sending love to other people at Christmastime."
The Grey Power office is one of the drop box locations, and president Miriam Ruberl says it has been getting a great response, including people volunteering to deliver them in person.
She says loneliness is something younger people suffer from too.
"It's all about giving people the opportunity to make connections with other people.
"Hopefully this will add a little bit of something to that quality of everyday life at Christmastime."
The deadline for the cards is Friday December 14. For more information go to www.sendinglove.co.nz. Those interested in volunteering can message the Sending Love - Christmas Cards for those Alone this Christmas Facebook page.
Helen thanks the Rotorua East Lions which is contributing funding for the library sessions.
Drop box locations
- Rotorua Library, 1127 Haupapa St
- Spotlight Rotorua, 1301 Ranolf St
- Grey Power Office, 1333 Eruera St
- NZ First, Level 6, 1154 Hinemoa St, 10am to 3pm.
Upcoming Card Sessions
- Thursday December 6: Card writing at Age Concern, 10am to 2pm.
- Friday December 7: Card writing at Grey Power office, 10am to 2pm
- Saturday December 8: Card making at the Rotorua Library, 10am to 12pm