“Sunshine Cards” Brighten Seniors’ Day Throughout Pandemic

Students from West Freehold Elementary School created color “Sunshine Cards” in art class to send to seniors within the community. (Photo courtesy Freehold Township)

  FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Over 1,800 “Sunshine Cards” made by students, parents and residents have been donated to seniors at the township’s senior center.

  The idea of the Sunshine Cards all began when Township Committee member Maureen Fasano wanted to do something since the senior center had to close due to the pandemic.

  “The Sunshine Cards began last March. When the pandemic hit, Freehold Township had to close its senior center. We had over 800 members at the time. As soon as the pandemic hit, my family was helping out our older family members and senior friends. It got me thinking about the seniors that no longer could attend the senior center. As an elected Township Committee member, I wanted to do something to help with their possible isolation,” Fasano said.

  During this time, Township employees began calling all members of the senior center to check in on them, answer questions or help alleviate any fears. They also began the Sunshine Cards and asked the community to send cards, letters or pictures to town hall. Employees mailed out the cards to members, with the project going until June 2020.

  When the pandemic was still ongoing during the holiday season, the township decided to bring the Sunshine Cards back. The winter months on top of the pandemic had also made volunteering difficult for younger community members.

Photo courtesy Freehold Township

  “Many students need to fulfill volunteer hours for school, religious organizations, social organizations and others. I contacted Adam Brusotti, The Freehold Township SECA, and together we worked on what would be an appropriate amount of ‘volunteer time’ for each card made and delivered. We have a bin outside town hall. Students drop off the cards with the volunteer form to the bin. I then fill out the hours and scan it back to them,” Fasano said.

  After one year, the township has collected over 1,800 cards to mail to seniors. Recently, Paige Reed who is an art teacher at West Freehold Elementary School and a former resident of Freehold Township, had her students create their own Sunshine Cards in class to send to seniors.

  In her card she wrote, “This piece of art comes to you from one of our many virtual lessons. It was created with love by me and taught with much laughter and patience to our talented students. I hope it brings you as much joy as it has brought me to teach it and share it!”

Photo courtesy Freehold Township

  In total, Reed collected about 100 cards from her students that will now be sent out to seniors in the township to enjoy.

  “The cards and the calls are a small way to bring some happiness to people. Nothing is better than having the young members of our community help the oldest members,” Fasano said.

  Any questions about the Sunshine Cards project, you can email Maureen Fasano at Sunshinecards@twp.freehold.nj.us.

Photo courtesy Freehold Township

  If you’d like to send in cards and letters, they can be dropped off in the Sunshine Card Drop Box located outside of Freehold Township Town Hall, 1 Municipal Plaza on the corner of Schanck and Stillwells Corner Roads.