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Thousands of holiday cards destined for Canadian seniors this Christmas

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A non-profit group in Mississauga, Ont., is sending some sunshine to seniors across the country these holidays — one card at a time.

The group, called Sending Sunshine, founded by Marissa Parker and her friends, put a call out on social media at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year asking for cards to send to seniors over the holidays.

Since then, the mail has been piling in. To date, the group has received more than 80,000 cards from around the world.

"I thought it was something that we could do to help seniors in our own community" and really "lift their spirits," Parker told CTV National News.

More than 7,000 students have signed up to be volunteer card writers and the group has partnered with more than 260 facilities and organizations nationwide.

One card reads in part: "I hope you have a happy holiday season and make sure to stay warm and cozy as winter starts. I want you to know that you are loved and I'm sending you a big hug."

Another from Brazil says: "I can see a shiny star through my window and it made me realize that this is the same star that shines above you as well, so if you ever feel alone remember that we all live under the same sky and that you shine as bright as this star."

"I really like looking at the designs of each one, because they all come in really different shapes and sizes," Sending Sunshine co-founder Kaitlyn Liang said.

"And especially if you hand-make them or hand-draw them, it's really interesting to see how different design elements are able to work together, different colours, how they blend together, and also just to look and admire the creativity of all of our volunteers."

The messages are just what card recipient Angeline Layton needed while living alone during the pandemic.

Reading the card she received, which said, "Wishing you a bright and beautiful Christmas and new year that shines with happiness and love and joy," Layton replied, "Isn't that wonderful."

"It was very nice, yes, very nice," she said. "It's a small world after all, because I thought it was a bit of friendship."

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