Cards of Love is a group on Facebook started two years ago by Della Levan. When asked why she started this group, Levan replied, "Cards of Love started two years ago after a three month illness. I was bedridden and had caregivers during that time, each day they would bring in my mail...and sweet, wonderful cards of faith, inspiration, and love from friends and others would make my day brighter. I could feel the love, and during this time I felt so alone and helpless. From my illness I vowed that another person who was ill or in desperate times would not feel alone. So Cards of Love was born."
As a member of the Cards of Love group, I recall some members joking that the group was almost single handedly saving the Postal Service. This recollection came to mind after I published an Op-Ed piece on the future of the U.S. Postal Service
, which discussed, among other things, how so many people have turned to e-mail and away from traditional mail.
I asked Levan to talk about how sending/receiving a card through the mail is different than sending/receiving the same sentiments via e-mail. "Sending and receiving cards through the mail is more personal," Levan said. "During this age of email and Facebook, it's nice to get back to 'the simple' things in life, and the things our parents enjoyed...the mail. We are losing our interaction one on one with others, and through the postal system, it still creates that simplicity of a person taking one minute, one stamp, and one card to make a difference in one life."
Levan, who currently lives in California, is originally from Arkansas. As I recall, most of the original members of the Cards of Love group were hometown friends or family members of Levan's. Fast forward two years and on May 20 the group had 1,418 members and continues to grow. Members are from all over the United States.
Cards of Love "is a way of making a difference in another's life, and anyone can participate," Levan said. "It is a voluntary group of members who are called 'Cards of Love angels' because they are truly angels to others."
Members post requests on the group's page asking for cards to be sent to people who are ill, in dire straits, having birthdays, and to family and friends who have lost loved ones.
Levan estimates that approximately 30-40 cards are mailed to folks identified when a member posts a request. "It's so wonderful to look at the cards and read them, from strangers from all over the US that are praying and thinking of you."
There are two things in abundant supply on the page: Requests for Cards of Love and Thank Yous. Recent requests are for cards to be mailed to friends and loved ones who were diagnosed with cancer, in car wrecks, and for sympathy cards to be mailed to those who lost loved ones. There are times when birthday cards are requested. Only recently did a member post about a woman celebrating her 100th birthday. "She has many dear friends in the church and loves to receive cards as a reminder that everyone is thinking about and praying for her," the request said.
"Cards of Love is a group of angels who take the time to reach out to others in a very simple way, a card...but they put their whole heart into that card along with prayers," Levan said. What is interesting and heartwarming is the degree to which card recipients don't mind getting cards from strangers. That seems to be due to their knowing senders took time out of their day and put their hearts into writing and mailing the cards. Simple acts of loving kindness with nothing expected in return.
There is a "return," though. The words "thank you" constantly appear on the page. And for Cards of Love creator, Della Levan, what she started two years ago is flowing back to her. "As I write this, I am home with an illness and looking at all the wonderful cards displayed on my fireplace mantel, over 40 cards of encouragement, and they certainly are helping me to heal," Levan said.
I don't know of anyone who displays emails on their mantelpieces. Cards are special and are often kept and treasured for decades.
I don't know the degree to which Cards of Love is helping the USPS, but it is helping. "In the two years that the Cards of Love group has been in existence, I would estimate between 3000-5000 cards have been mailed, which helps our postal system," Levan said. In addition, it helps "card companies such as Dayspring and others, and it spiritually helps our members."
There may be those that look down their noses at "snail mail," but sometimes doing things the old-fashioned way is exactly what is needed. Cards of Love illustrates the value of the United States Postal Service and the genuine inspiration, comfort, and encouragement that a card can bring.