SNL's Heidi Gardner Sending Letters to Convalescent Homes amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Heidi Gardner is encouraging everyone around the world to spread some kindness to those affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Friday, the Saturday Night Live cast member shared a post on social media, telling her fans that she was going to send letters to convalescent homes, many of which have been on lockdown amid the outbreak as the virus can be potentially deadly for people over the age of 60, especially those with underlying health conditions.
Gardner also asked her followers to consider sending one themselves.
"Please join me and send a card to a nursing home. Senior citizens need our love more than ever right now. They are isolated and not able to be visited by loved ones," the comedian wrote. "I was thinking this morning that a card could really cheer them up. Thanks for reading this and if you do write one, please send me a pic so I can share and we can continue to spread the love together. 💕."
Gardner also uploaded a picture of the note she wrote, which read: "Dear Residents of Shady Rest Care Center, Hi, I'm Heidi. I wanted to say HELLO to you. I realize with the current state of the world, you may not have as many visitors stopping by. So this is me "stopping by" to let you know that you are loved and thought of. And if I were there I'd give you a big hug!! If you feel like writing me back, I'd love to hear from you. We're all a bit cooped up and lonely. A pen pal would be nice. i hope you have a beautiful day. I love you. XOXO Heidi."RELATED: U.S. Cases of Coronavirus: Here's an Updated Map of the Spread
The star's post inspired fans around the world to join her in sending heartfelt letters to senior citizens in nursing homes across the United States.
Gardner shared a second post, highlighting some of the sweet letters and acts of service her friends and fans were sending.
"CARE BEARS UNITE!! // truly I'm blown away by all the love going out into the world. It's so comforting. I've gotten so many messages and pictures today," she wrote. "Hundreds of cards have gone out to seniors. This is beautiful. I've heard from teachers, kids, teens, moms, dads, husbands, wives, artists, athletes, news anchors. A woman from Germany sent letters!! This is beautiful and I'm so inspired to do more. I'll be spending my night continuing to write and if you messaged me a retirement home or loved know that I saw it and I will write to them. Thanks again. Big LOVE ❤️ 💕🌸."
In one of the photos, Gardner shared a text message conversation with a friend who told her that they "dropped off toiletries at a shelter" after being "inspired" by her act of kindness. "We can add a little love in this scary time," the friend wrote.
The actress then reposted all of the messages and tags she's received on her Instagram Story, of fans sending letters and drafting fun templates for others to use.RELATED: First Coronavirus-Related Death Reported in New York: 'Virus Has Spread Much More Than We Know'
One follower even revealed that she shared Gardner's initiative with her company, which then dedicated an hour of their workday for employees to write letters to nursing home residents.
"This is incredible of you and your coworkers," Gardner responded to the fan. "Please thank them on my behalf. You inspire me!"
As of March 14, there have been 2,345 confirmed cases of coronavirus and a total of 50 deaths in the United States, according to a New York Times database.
Several states have declared a state of emergency to redirect funding, and public schools in Ohio, Maryland, New Mexico, Michigan, Oregon and the District of Columbia have closed in response.