Indiana Daily Student

Community members decorate cards for senior citizens during Valentine’s Day event

<p>Miss Bloomington Anurika Enyiaku and Bloomington business owner Amie Crites livestream on Facebook about their event on Feb. 11, 2022, at Morgenstern’s Bookstore. They partnered to create cards for elderly members in the Bloomington area. </p>

Miss Bloomington Anurika Enyiaku and Bloomington business owner Amie Crites livestream on Facebook about their event on Feb. 11, 2022, at Morgenstern’s Bookstore. They partnered to create cards for elderly members in the Bloomington area.

Bloomington residents celebrated Valentine's Day on Saturday with sparkles, hearts and kind words as they crafted cards for senior citizens in the community. 

The event, called Love Notes for the Win, was hosted by Anurika Enyiaku, the National American Miss Bloomington 2021-22, Anurika's mother Jessica Enyiaku, and Amie Crites, a Bloomington resident and creator of A Cosmic Game of Love. The event took place at Morgenstern’s Bookstore & Café from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Love Notes for the Win gave attendees the opportunity to decorate Valentine's Day-themed cards to uplift those in nursing homes and care facilities fighting loneliness and depression. 

Anurika, 6, has collected cards for senior citizens since last year through her “Tell-A-Grand” program. The idea for the program came while making a card last year to send to her uncle at his nursing home, where visitors have been limited due to the pandemic. 

"He was really sad, and sometimes in nursing homes, they usually don't have someone to be with them or visit or anything, so we sent him a card,” Anariku said. “And then I decided that we should do that to other people, too.”

The pair were inspired to turn the single card into a campaign to help others. Since Tell-A-Grand began, they've placed drop-off boxes around the city at O'Child Children's Boutique, City Church for All Nations and Morgenstern's. They also opened a P.O. box last November. 

As Valentine's Day got closer, Jessica and Anariku decided to make a special push for donations. They partnered with Amie Crites, who was also looking for ways to celebrate in the community. Crites has been spreading cards with encouraging messages around the city since 2016, and created A Cosmic Game of Love, a 42-card deck with positive affirmations and calls to action on each card. 

Crites said some of the best experiences of her life have come from loving and being loved by strangers. 

"I just think with everything going on in the world, it's important to make love louder," she said. 

During the event, a table was set up with craft supplies such as colorful markers, red and white construction paper and glittery heart-shaped stickers. 220 store-bought cards were also available for use, with sayings such as "Let Happiness Bloom" on the front. Attendees took a seat to chat and decorate the cards, cutting out paper hearts, drawing pictures and writing notes. 

Bloomington resident Deborah Ensmenger said she read about the event in a Herald-Times article and wanted to participate since she and her daughter, Lily, often make cards for similar causes. 

"There are so many people that are lonely and don't have people in their lives affirming them, so it's really impactful even if it's a stranger," she said. 

Lily, 8, drew a purple, pink and blue rainbow on one of the cards, writing "Happy Valentine's Day." Deborah said events like this set a positive example for her daughter. 

Anurika initially said her goal for the event was to collect 20 cards to give away. By the end of the event, there were a total of 116 cards made by Anurika, Amie and other community members. 

Jessica said the goal is to keep making cards for holidays as well as birthdays throughout the year. They would also eventually like to see the effort expand outside Bloomington, she said.

"We're just kind of hoping to get the word out and bring some awareness," she said. "And to help people see that just four minutes of their time to make a card can really make a big impact."

Jessica and Anurika will take the cards to seniors around Monroe County on Monday, while Crites will be passing them out to strangers and leaving them in random spots around town. Card donations can be delivered to the drop-off boxes or mailed to Anurika and Jessica’s P.O box at Tell-A-Grand, P.O. Box 804, Bloomington, IN 47402.

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