Franklin Elementary School student Kimberly Meusling celebrated the Valentine’s Day season by visiting local seniors.
She was inspired by a news story about “Major Bill,” a 104-year-old veteran living in a Stockton senior home.
“Major Bill wanted people to send some Valentine’s to him and his friends for the special holiday, at times it’s hard for families to visit their loved ones,” said Tiffany Meusling, Kimberly’s mother. “This touched my daughter so much, she wanted to help so she came up with Operation: Send The Love.”
Tiffany called all of the senior living homes in Elk Grove and, along with a few students at her school, she crafted Valentine’s Day cards for the seniors.
“When I saw Major Bill on the news it made me realize that here is a man that gave a lot to our country and I just wanted to honor him by sending love to others around my community,” Kimberly said. “It makes me sad that maybe these seniors don’t have families close that can come and see them. I love Valentine’s Day and I wanted to make them love it just as much as I do and make them smile.”
When she came up with the idea to do this, she thought she couldn’t make all of these cards by herself. Being on the Leadership Team at Franklin Elementary, she met with principal Diane Davis-Quidgeon to get her fellow classmates involved.
She made a flier and passed it out to all of the students at her school and put a heart-shaped box in the office with “Operation Send The Love” on it and cards started coming in. They collected a total of 350 cards, 200 of them were made by Kimberly.
“I love making art and drawing so when I got to do this project I was so happy,” she said. “My Valentines were a lot of hearts and butterflies and just encouraging words of love and kindness to show them they are loved so much. ‘Go out and be the change you want to see in the world’ (the cards said). It only takes one person to start the change and I am glad that I could be that person.”
On Feb. 13, she visited The Carlton and The Meadows senior homes, and on Valentine’s Day, she visited Brookdale and Camden Springs.
“The general response, they were so happy and thankful, and a few shed some tears, it just warmed my heart,” she said.
After the news story aired, Major Bill White has received more than 70,000 Valentine cards and the Meuslings did send their Valentine to him.
“He was only hoping to get 100 cards to honor each year of his life, but it far exceeded his expectations and now he is honoring all of the vets that passed away in the line of service,” Tiffany said.
Kimberly now wants to make Operation: Send the Love an annual project.
“I would love to do this every Valentine’s Day since that is one of my favorite holidays, and maybe it would be a great idea to do this for Christmas, too,” she said.