Spreading Love to the Community One Card at a Time

Students and families from Matthew Paterson Elementary spread the love to our community this week through simple, but meaningful Valentine's Day cards!

Students pose with Valentine's Day cards

Through the card drive organized by the MPES Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO), students made homemade valentine’s cards for local seniors and veterans. Several teachers in the school building also included the activity as part of their lesson plans, using class time to teach the students about compassion – one of the six characteristics the District hopes to instill in all Carmel graduates.

A long-standing connection with Camp Herrlich also allowed additional elementary students in the camp’s full remote-learning and afterschool programs the opportunity to be a part of the initiative. The PTO supplied craft materials to the Camp for the students to use in their creations.

"We have been so fortunate at Camp Herrlich to have continued to serve our community through these tough times, and the children are always looking for ways to reach out," said Jessica Vanacoro, associate executive director at Camp Herrlich and a Matthew Paterson Elementary School parent. "This project was the perfect way for our campers to use their creativity and bring some love to our neighbors."

Student response was remarkable. A final tally showed more than 500 cards were created and distributed – surpassing the initial goal of 400 cards!

Students deliver cards to senior citizens

Of the total collected, almost 450 cards were distributed through the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources’ Nutrition Program which delivered the cards along with meals provided to home-bound seniors as well as those who pick up meals from the center. The remaining cards were provided to the local veterans’ home in Carmel and The Equus Effect, a non-profit that helps returning veterans and first responders through horse therapy, in Sharon, Conn.

"We chose the senior meal delivery program because we felt these seniors may be one of the most isolated groups in our community during the pandemic," said Robyn Steinberg, president of the MPES PTO. "Many of them have not been able to visit with their own families or grandchildren much during this time. We chose the veterans home for the same reason."

This year’s project was a change from the annual Candygram sale that the MPES PTO organizes for students.

"This year we simply felt that giving back to the community was more important,” said Steinberg. “We collected more than 500 cards from our mailbox. This response shows the true heart of our school!"

"There is no stopping our students, staff and parents," said Mike Kirk, principal of Matthew Paterson Elementary. "I am proud of this initiative and the kindness our students have shown!"