My aging neighbour is living on his own and this November I noticed he’d stopped meeting his coffee buddies. As I see people going around doing holiday shopping, visiting friends, or attending their child’s school play, I also see my neighbour’s isolation and loneliness.

Behold a new seasonal program began at Mississippi Mills Public Library (MMPL), “Tidings of Comfort and Joy”. MMPL sent out a request for donations of “extra” Christmas & holiday greeting cards and for people to please write cheerful messages in these cards. The greetings were to be delivered to seniors in our community.

The response to this program was magnificent! A wonderful volunteer, Doris, asked if she and her team could deliver cards along with seniors’ meals in Pakenham. A librarian reached out to Carebridge Community Support to ask if they’d like some cards to deliver with their grocery delivery program and their seniors’ meal delivery. Then the program was shared in the town’s social media and quickly over 300 cards were written, then delivered throughout the community!

I am proud of living in a community of such generosity. With the help of MMPL, Carebridge and so many residents, we are fighting the pandemic of isolation. We show our seniors we value them.

Social isolation, loneliness and exclusion are all related to serious negative health effects and reduced quality of life – particularly for seniors in rural areas. 30% of Canadian seniors are at risk of becoming socially isolated.*

Libraries help make people healthier and happier. Libraries  are a smart investment.

*Final Report: A Profile of Social Isolation in Canada (2006). Retrieved 2014.

Shout out to Pembroke Public Library for running a similar program!