Bristol nursing home starts holiday pen pal program to spread cheer to residents

BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — A nursing home in Bristol is making the holidays extra special for residents. The team at Countryside Manor of Bristol started a Christmas Pen Pals program, hoping to spread some cheer this year.

“We went around to the residents and explained to them the idea and asked them if they would be interested getting a Christmas Pen Pal,” said Rachael Waskiewicz, Dementia Program Coordinator at Countryside Manor of Bristol.

Waskiewicz posted about the program on Facebook, sharing the names and photos of participating residents. You can write to one resident, or all of them, and get a letter in return if you include your address. 

“We are just overwhelmed and in complete shock of how much this has traveled, not only in Connecticut or Bristol but to other states,” said Waskiewicz. “It shows how much the community is willing to come together, especially during this time.”

In a matter of days, they have received cards and gifts. Through this program, they are trying to spread some holiday cheer to residents, who are missing their loved ones now more than ever.

“It just really brightens their day,” Waskiewicz told News 8. “We’ve had our families reach out and thank us for doing this.”

They are hoping other nursing homes start up a program of their own.

“I hope this inspires other nursing homes to do something and I hope people in the community remember there are not just our residents, there are other residents as well,” said Waskiewicz.

If you are interested in sending a letter, the address for Countryside Manor of Bristol is 1660 Stafford Avenue, Bristol, CT 06010.