Nursing home residents use holiday pen pals to cope during pandemic

CLEAR LAKE, Texas (KTRK) -- A senior living facility in Clear Lake is helping residents get through the COVID-19 pandemic with a pen pal setup.

Several residents have established new friendships through the exchange of kind words from hundreds of strangers.

A plea for "pandemic pen pals" from residents at Heartis Clear Lake back in March received a huge response.

"Oh my goodness. They were just pouring in. Boxes of them," said Edith Dees, a resident.

And the letters haven't stopped. There are drawings, hand-written notes and some carefully typed letters coming from all parts of the country and even across the world.

"The post office was showing up with big heavy bins filled to the brim with letters for our residents," said Becky Hudson.

Months later, Dees is still receiving drawings and handmade holiday gifts from at least a dozen pen pals.

"I was mostly picking out things from children. That's who I wanted to write to," she said.

As for Donna Johnson, another resident, her letters have a long way to travel from Germany and Russia.

"I just get all kinds of interesting things. I can't wait until the next letter," Johnson said.

The residents said they feel like the pen pals have become like their family.

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