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Local

GreenFields of Geneva launches 'Pony Express' pen-pal program

Helen Meints, a resident of GreenFields, is excited to receive letters from her new pen pals through the community’s Pony Express program.
Helen Meints, a resident of GreenFields, is excited to receive letters from her new pen pals through the community’s Pony Express program.

GENEVA – GreenFields of Geneva, a senior living community, has launched "Pony Express," a pen-pal program that replaces electronic communication with old-fashioned stationery and pens.

According to a news release, the program helps keep the residents engaged with their neighbors during social distancing.

Life Enrichment Manager Karen Tomko reached out to GreenFields' neighbors in the Mill Creek subdivision via Facebook. Thirty-six families signed up to participate in the program.

"I requested families wishing to be pen pals with GreenFields residents," Tomko stated in the news release. "Families send letters to me, and I deliver them Pony Express-style to their apartments. I do the reverse with the letters the residents write,"

Shortly after it was launched, the program was featured on CBS News, the release stated. An anonymous, retired postmaster saw the story and reached out to Tomko.

"I found it to be a profoundly touching story and as a retired postmaster, truly appreciate the value of the written word and transmitting it through the oldest and most reliable communication medium in the United States," the postmaster wrote.

Enclosed with the letter were two sheets of $0.55 First Class Mail Forever postage stamps as gifts to the pen pal residents.

"Now put thoughts to paper, secure them in an envelope, place a postage stamp on the envelope, and drop it in the mail,” the note concluded.

When sheltering in place has ended, Tomko hopes to have a party for the residents and neighbors to meet their respective pen pals, the release stated.

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