by Emily Miller, Austin Stake Communication Director
AUSTIN, Texas — To celebrate Valentine’s Day, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who reside in the Austin Texas Stake boundaries collected more than 750 valentines to distribute to Austin-area seniors. Individuals of all ages participated in the project, by making homemade valentines or writing cheerful, encouraging messages in store-bought greeting cards.
Initially, the goal was to collect 100 valentines for Capital City Village, an Austin-based nonprofit dedicated to helping seniors “age in place” in their homes. That original goal of 100 valentines was quickly exceeded. Capital City Village members each received two valentine cards in the mail this week, and the extra valentines were gifted to eight assisted living facilities in the area, ultimately making their way into the hands of 350 Austin-area seniors.
Michael McKinlay, who volunteers as the Austin stake’s JustServe specialist said, “It was nice to find and create a service project that was not only COVID safe, but focused on the senior community, who are missing day-to-day interactions with friends and family. Hopefully the valentines will send a little cheer and appreciation that they deserve.”
Sandi Rivera made close to 50 valentines with her two daughters, who are 4 and 14. “It was uplifting to me to make valentines,” Rivera reflected. “It was even better because I got to experience this joy with my daughters and teach them different ways we can show love, even for people we have never met.”
Latter-day Saint families, individuals and youth in Elgin created hundreds of valentines for the project. The Elgin ward’s Relief Society service coordinator, Margaret Carneiro, said, “We all worked as a team!”
In addition to making cards for Capital City Village members, they also donated cards to residents at the Elgin Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Carneiro reflected, “Since COVID still restricts visits, we wanted our senior neighbors to feel love from our community, and writing cards was a way we could help and reach out.”