Letters perk up shut-ins

Usually, it’s adults who are lifting up kids through support.

But in this case it’s the other way around.

Emily Bufford, the children’s librarian in Bainbridge Island’s Kitsap branch, asked kids to write letters to seniors and homebound adults who may be feeling lonely during COVID-19 pandemic isolations.

She handed out letter kits to BI residents that included stationery, pencils, and ideas for topics to write about.

“Prompts were things that bring us together, like a favorite show, family pet or what brings you happiness right now,” she said, adding kids were asked to submit drawings, too.

Bufford said over 185 Bainbridge library patrons asked to participate. So far, 116 letters have been returned. The letters are anonymous and have been written by people of all ages- one Blakely school counselor came to pick up a bunch for her class to write. The letters will be delivered to a senior-living home and to homebound patrons throughout Kitsap County via the library’s Mobile Services team.

That team delivers library materials throughout the year to clients who are unable to leave their homes.

Bufford said some of the letters were funny, but others were “sweet, affirming things that were super supportive,” she said, adding she was “really touched.”

Others shared ways to cope during COVID if they’re feeling sad. “Stay safe” and “We’re in this together,” were examples.

“I’d love to continue this; we had such an amazing response,” Bufford said, adding most were done anonymously.