Young students share Valentine’s love with seniors

By Albert Amateau

First graders from Little Red School House delivered their Valentine’s Day cards to Visiting Neighbors on Wednesday morning Feb. 11.

The cards, made by all the students at Little Red and other elementary schools, went into the mail hopefully in time for Valentine’s Day delivery to the more than 500 seniors who depend on Visiting Neighbors.

On hand for the event was Josephine Maroonick, a senior from the East Village. She thanked the children and their teachers, Janice Atlas and Lindsay Blank, for the thoughts and images that they put in their cards.

“Happy Valentine’s Day. I Love You” was the prevailing sentiment; hearts and flowers were the usual images.

“You are all very special,” Maroonick said. “Yours are the only Valentine’s Day cards I’ll be getting this year, and I’ll put it on top of my refrigerator where I’ll see it whenever I’m in the kitchen.”

Rosa Pergola, who made the walk from her Union Square apartment to the Visiting Neighbors office at Houston St. and Broadway, said she would keep her card in her parlor — “right on the television tray.”

Little Red School House school children are not the only ones to make Valentine’s Day cards for Visiting Neighbors seniors. Students from School of the Future, on E. 22nd St.; Grace Church School, on Fourth Ave. at E. 10th St.; Our Lady of Pompeii School, at Bleecker and Carmine Sts.; and TLC, a special-education school in Brooklyn, have also contributed over the past 25 years that Visiting Neighbors has been sending Valentine’s Day cards.

Visiting Neighbors, with a handful of full-time staff, does most of its work through volunteers, whose work ranges from escorting seniors to and from medical appointments and accompanying them on shopping forays to friendly weekly visits.