MISSOULA - Children have made over 800 heartfelt valentines for homebound seniors in Missoula.
The special cards were added to food bags from the ROOTS program at Missoula Food Bank and Community Center (MFBCC) and will be delivered by Valentine’s Day.
“This is one of our Art with a Purpose programs. And each kiddo was given supplies by us to go in and make these valentines. And they’re all really sweet. Basically, we were [bringing supplies to kids] anywhere from preschoolers up until middle schoolers. And the message is one of ‘we hope you’re doing well, we’re here for you, we support you, we love you," explained Families First Learning Lab (FFLL) Child Enrichment Director Katie Little.
FFLL team members went to over 35 classrooms to share with kids how they can brighten a stranger’s day with messages of love, encouragement, and friendship.
“I really wanted for kids to experience how important it is to take care of other people. And going in and seeing them create something for someone they don’t know. And have such nice, kind, meaningful things in the cards is amazing,” Little said.
Another amazing part of the program is that these cards will be a surprise; the receiving seniors don’t know that they’ll be getting a handmade valentine with their food.
“I think it’s gonna be really magical for somebody to open up their bag of food and have this message," Little happily stated.
The valentine's are also part of a Missoula Food Bank monthly program. Community members gathered to assemble “ROOTS” food bags — donations full of nutritious food that are delivered to homebound people over the age of 60 and living on or less than 130% of the poverty level.
MTN's Emily Brown got to step into the bag assembly line, putting valentines into food kits and at the end of the two-hour effort, over 350 food bags were stuffed with goodies and love.
“It means a lot to deliver [staple foods] to individuals who may not have the transportation or the abilities to go to the stores themselves," MFBCC Senior Nutrition and Outreach Coordinator Jessica Harrell shared with MTN News.
This collaboration between Families First and (MFBCC) has been growing over the last for years.
“It’s such a special treat; the individuals on the program [from years past] have reached out mentioning what it is to receive a token of appreciation from other members of the community," Harrell said.
Both organizations are very excited to spread some love this Valentine's Day.