Maple Valley woman spreads joy to the elderly

Bree Peirce decided to make a difference this holiday season by sending holiday cards to the elderly.

One local community member is making a difference one letter at a time.

Bree Peirce, a Maple Valley resident, posted to a community Facebook page asking that people donate cards to the elderly.

The idea to write letters to elderly came to her because two years ago she worked at a dementia living facility in Enumclaw, Peirce explained. And there was a woman there that reminded her of her grandmother.

One day, this woman received a letter in the mail and it made her day.

“She carried it around and read it to everybody. They don’t remember that they read to you know 10 times before, and her face just lit up. And then we did Christmas carols and more cards came in to more residents and just to see their faces light up was… You know a lot of them don’t get visitors, they don’t have family members that come because it’s really stressful for them too. Just to see everybody be so happy just to get a simple card was you know, it was just really heartfelt for me,” she said.

On her way to work one day, about a week ago or so ago, Peirce said she was on her way to work and that woman’s face popped into her head and she remembered the card that lit up her day. That’s when she decided she wanted to get involved again, as she does not work at that facility anymore.

After she posted to the Facebook page, Peirce said she was astounded with how many people personal messaged her, asking what they could do to help.

“I didn’t think that it would go over so well so fast, so with the abundance that I’ve received,” Peirce said.

Currently, Peirce said she has received about 500 cards from people in the community and people are still messaging her wanting to meet up and get her cards to deliver to the elderly.

“A lot of people shared their stories with me and a lot of people were affected by a family member that had Alzheimer’s or dementia or just lived in a nursing home,” she said.

But with so many cards at hand and still coming in, Peirce said she has chosen four facilities to donate the cards to, instead of one, and has also decided to send some of the cards to soldiers overseas.

The facilities Perice said she is delivering are Expressions at Enumclaw, Life Care Center of Puyallup, Linden Grove Health Care Center in Puyallup and Foundations Living in Kent. Along with soldiers oversea, too.

People who have decided to donate aren’t donating just one or two cards, they’re donating bags full.

A lot of the cards she is receiving are blank, so slowly but surely, Peirce said she is working to write in all them before they get sent off.

“I just sit at home and start watching a movie and (write) as long as I can or until my hand gets tired,” she said laughing.

The ones that do have something written in it are usually just “Merry Christmas.” Peirce said she is now asking that people also sign their names at the bottom the card too.

Recently, a gentleman and his wife met with Peirce and donated a large bag full of cards, but they also delivered another idea to her too.

Peirce said he suggested making the card donations year round and not just to the elderly.

“It’s great that people come together during the holidays and people feel an abundance of joy, but to me, it’s something that should go on year round,” she said.

Peirce said she is hoping to get all the cards from people in and written by Dec. 17 because she told the facilities she would be delivering them on a certain day before Christmas.

“I think that elderly folks are forgotten about a lot, during the holidays. Whether they live at home or they’re in an assisted living home,” Peirce said. “There’s a little spark when they read their cards.”

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Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com. To see her columns come to life, follow her on Facebook at Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.
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