Breaking News
More () »

Hancock Co. spreads cheer to seniors during holiday season

The Senior Cheer Program began as a way to show support for nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has now become an annual tradition.

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ohio — In late 2020, the United Way of Hancock County launched the Senior Cheer Program. It started as a one-off idea to spread some holiday cheer in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was so well received it's now entering its third year.

The program asks people from across Hancock County to write letters, create art or send photos to be distributed to residents in local nursing homes.

"We have partnered with seven different nursing facilities and we then distribute them evenly to the different facilities," volunteer coordinator Sarah Mayle said. "And it's just a great way to volunteer and brighten someone's day."

Individuals, businesses and schools got on board quickly.

When it was brought back in 2021 due to popularity, double the amount of cheerful messages were collected for seniors.

Now, the United Way is ready to continue the project as an ongoing holiday tradition.

"We want to make it easy for people to get involved in the community," United Way CEO Angela Deboskey said. "And channels like Senior Cheer definitely make it easier for folks to find a meaningful and impactful way during the holidays, or all winter long."

Credit: Jon Monk
Senior Cheer became a popular activity for local classrooms.

The program can create connections with new people, too.

"Gives somebody a real good feeling to get involved in, but then it also gives a really good feeling to receive it as well," Deboskey said.

While Senior Cheer was conceptualized for the holiday season, the United Way will accept cheer donations all year long.

Want more from WTOL 11?

➡️ Download the WTOL 11 weather app for the latest local 10-day forecast and live radar!

➡️ Download the WTOL 11 news app for Apple here or get it in the Google store here.

➡️ Get a fresh start to your morning and wrap up your day with the latest news and your WTOL 11 Weather forecast delivered right to your inbox!

WTOL 11's Your Morning Blast and Your Evening Blast deliver stories from northwest Ohio, southeast Michigan and beyond to keep you informed.

Click here to get on the list!

Before You Leave, Check This Out