Are you a care facility in Ontario looking to receive letters as part of the Pen Pal Program? Fill out our application!
Pen Pal Program
Sending Sunshine’s Pen Pal Program is intended to facilitate meaningful, one-on-one intergenerational connections through the power of the written word. In a time that can feel very isolating, sending handwritten letters is a tangible way to create new friendships and help reduce feelings of loneliness.
Wondering how your letter gets to a Senior living in a care facility? Here's how it works!
Sign up on our website and wait for our confirmation email.
Handwrite the letter and mail it.
The letter is received and Sending Sunshine delivers it to a partnered care facility.
The letter is distributed to a resident who is looking for a Pen Pal
The resident responds to the letter and sends it directly to you! Steps 2-5 are repeated at least six times!
Will I receive a handwritten letter in return?
Yes! As you are required to send in a minimum of six letters, you will also receive a minimum of six handwritten letters from the senior you have written to.
How will I know if my letter was received?
We will send a confirmation email each time we receive your letter.
What should the letter contain?
The cards should contain thoughtful, uplifting, and cheerful messages. Letters should be handwritten and contain an introduction of yourself. You can also include any hobbies, interests, or past-times. More ideas are outlined in the card writing guidelines section of our website
Is there a minimum or maximum length required for the letters?
The letters should have a minimum of 20 sentences, with an average of 15-20 words each.
Am I able to send small gifts to my pen pal?
Gifts sent to a penpal are the responsibility of the sender (i.e., postage) and are not required. *Please note: food items will not be accepted.
Am I only able to write a letter to one resident?
Yes. Since the program is only open to 50 individuals right now, you may only sign up once to be paired with one pen pal. However, in the future we hope you can have as many pen pals as you would feel comfortable with.
Am I able to get volunteer hours if I sign up to the program?
Yes. Please ensure that you check the box upon sign-up so you can receive hours with participation in our program.
How many volunteer hours will I receive for each letter?
Each letter is equivalent to 1 hour of volunteer service. However you need to write at least six consecutive letters to receive volunteer hours from the program.
Is there a time/number of letter commitment for the program?
You will be required to write a minimum of six letters throughout your time with the program.
Can I send my letters directly to my pen pal instead of sending them to Sending Sunshine?
For logistical reasons, we ask that our pen pal volunteers send all their letters to us. However, there are specific situations where you can send your letters directly to your pen pal. Please email us to see if this applies to you.
What Makes a Good Letter?
One letter or card made from 8.5 x 11’’ blank paper, cardstock, or stationary
Please avoid using lined paper or paper with a three-hold punch
Neat, legible, large handwriting
Use pen, marker, or pencil crayon
A complete page of writing (minimum 20 sentences)
Some paragraph breaks can help your letter be read more easily
What Should I Write Inside?
Begin with a greeting and introduce yourself
Write about what you are currently doing, interests, or hobbies you are passionate about
Ask questions for your pen pal to respond to
Sign off your letter