‘It’s really special to get a handwritten letter’: Yale student pens letters of love to the elderly

New Haven

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Is the handwritten note a relic of the past? If so, a New Haven man is on a mission to bring it back and he wants your help.

RELATED: Nyberg: Yale student raises hopes of senior citizens with ‘Love for the Elderly’ letter-writing campaign

Nineteen-year-old Yale sophomore Jacob Cramer is studying cognitive science but if you want to see him really light up it’s at East Haven‘s Whispering Pines Rehab and Nursing Center.

“A vulnerable group that obviously deserves so much love and appreciation but don’t always get it,” said Cramer.

He’s not related to anyone there. He’s been on a mission to bring smiles to seniors at facilities across the country since he was a kid.

“When my grandpa passed away it was my first time really experiencing grief. I don’t know, as a 10-year-old that was really hard for me,” said Cramer.

Jacob started volunteering at a home in his native Cleveland, Ohio.

“And I saw honestly loneliness and isolation and I knew that something small like a handwritten letter could have a major impact,” said Cramer.

He began penning letters to seniors across the country. The thing about these letters, they’re all handwritten not a single one is typed. It’s an element that makes them all extra special.

“It’s tangible, you can feel it not just in paper, but in your heart. I know that sounds cheesy, but I think it’s so true it’s really special to get a handwritten letter,” said Cramer.

Jacob founded a nonprofit called “Love for the Elderly.”

“What’s really cool is we’ve been able to collect 95,000 letters of love from across the globe,” said Cramer.

Through social media alone, he’s reached thousands. People write notes to strangers and mail them to Jacob’s organization, which partners with nursing homes across the country.

Resident Jim Saccavino can’t remember the last time he got a personal note.

“A while. A very long while,” said Saccavino.

Getting one was a special treat.

“It makes me feel good. It really does,” said Saccavino.

His neighbors feel the same way.

“If you don’t feel good, that helps you when you read something,” said Maryann Palange.

“Especially people that don’t have any family or friends to do that – that means a lot. That’s a blessing,” said Margaret Steeves.

Jacob is challenging everyone to write a handwritten note next Wednesday, Feb. 26 his grandmother’s birthday. He coined it “Letter to an Elder Day.”

To learn how to get involved, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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