Shreya & Saffron Patel, Co-founders
TEEN SISTERS BRING LETTERS AGAINST ISOLATION TO NONPROFIT STATUS Letters Against Isolation has sent over 250,000 letters and cards to seniors during the pandemic.
LOS ANGELES, SEPT. 1, 2021 – On Aug. 1, 2021, Letters Against Isolation (LAI) achieved nonprofit status. LAI is a volunteer organization that sends letters and cards to seniors around the world to fight against loneliness. It was started on Apr. 6, 2020, by Massachusetts-based sisters Shreya and Saffron Patel to help the senior community stay connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Letters Against Isolation began when Shreya and Saffron started to make daily calls to their grandparents in England, who were self-isolating during the pandemic. During a FaceTime call, their grandmother showed them a card she had received from a friend. “Seeing her joy, we realized that there was something special about receiving a handwritten letter,” says 19-year-old co-founder Shreya. “It made her feel more connected and cared for in a way that a phone call couldn’t.” The sisters quickly realized many seniors didn’t have a strong support system. This led them to reach out to a few nursing homes to see if they had seniors interested in receiving letters. One week later, 200 seniors were awaiting letters. The sisters knew they would never be able to send enough letters to reach all of those in need and asked for volunteers. Letters Against Isolation now has 16,500 volunteers from 15 different countries. It works with 300 nursing homes and has written to 17,500 seniors in six different countries. Tackling senior loneliness one letter at a time goes beyond the pandemic. According to 17-year-old co-founder Saffron, “We intend to continue to send them letters and cards after the pandemic is over because senior loneliness is not something that’s going to go away.” Volunteers range from all ages, and many volunteers are seniors themselves. “It is clear that our work is impactful for both writers and recipients,” adds Saffron. Letters Against Isolation has expanded its outreach and most recently sent 1,500 cards to the first responders and the families of the victims of the Surfside condo collapse in Florida.
About Letters Against Isolation:
Letters Against Isolation is a nonprofit organization fighting senior loneliness one letter at a time.