Non-profit coalition in need of handmade cards for seniors

news release

The non-profit coalition called Indian River CARES is in need of handmade cards, paintings, crafts or any kinds of “room brighteners”. Since the start of the Connected for Seniors Program in August 2020, Indian River CARES has delivered over 2,000 “room brighteners” to seniors.

But this is just the beginning! Indian River CARES wants to continue this program and needs your help to brighten the lives of others by collecting these room brighteners. These will be delivered to seniors living in local facilities as a reminder that they are being thought of by their community at this time. 

Due to COVID-19, seniors have been further isolated from loved ones— just one simple handmade card can send a little encouragement and brighten someone’s day.

St. Francis Manor resident, Steve Gifford found joy in the room brighteners, “To all the St. Edward’s students who sent us at St. Francis Manor Thanksgiving cards, from all of us to every one of you: Oh, what a pleasant thing y’all chose to do! You gave our holiday your special touch – how wonderful! We thank you very much! From the residents of St. Francis Manor with love.”

Indian River CARES has many groups in the community creating room brighteners for the senior living in facilities in our community. The groups include public and private schools, afterschool programs, adult groups, homeschool groups, businesses, and the public library.

CARES, standing for connect, advocate, renew, educate and strategize, is working on ways to “best serve our community” says Barbara Schlitt Ford, Indian River CARES Facilitator. Barbara encourages all to join this effort to make sure our senior citizens feel connected and cared for. “The community has risen to the occasion and made the effort to focus on others by creating these handmade, unique room brighteners for our treasured seniors. Especially now, there are few gifts more meaningful than individual selfless acts of caring,” Barbara said, “While, with the community’s help, we have completed the first round of distributions and have begun a second round, we need thousands more to make this an ongoing activity, and we hope the community joins us in this simple but important collaborative effort.”

Any groups or individuals can participate. You can drop your items at the Environmental Learning Center’s entry pavilion, open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or we will pick up batches if needed. Please contact if you need your batch of room brighteners to be picked up.

Indian River CARES is a coalition of nonprofit leaders that initially came together in the spring of 2020. Their goal is to build bridges between nonprofits so that they can be knowledgeable about the services provided in Indian River County and to encourage collaboration between community organizations to most efficiently use limited resources. They also work together to bring resources and speakers to help one another, strengthen staff, board of directors, and processes for the benefit of those served. Indian River CARES works to connect community members and businesses with their organizations. CARES identifies community issues and work together to help solve them. “We firmly believe that together, we are better!” Learn more about Indian River CARES at

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