For five years now, on the second Tuesdays of the month, a steady group of volunteers led by Program Lead Bev Beppler, have come to Nyer Urness House, an 80-unit apartment housing people who were formerly homeless, to offer Free Letters Home™. This project of Sustainable Ballard gives residents a chance to send mail, connecting with friends and family members with whom they may have been out of touch.
According to John Nanney, who works the night shift at the House, this program has had great success as the residents reach out, not only to their correspondents, but to each other as they share the writing experience. Residents who have been writing letters encourage new residents to start letters of their own, and it has become something of a monthly social event.
The Sustainable Ballard Volunteers provide guidance, take dictation, look up addresses, provide postage and generally offer another set of ears to people whose lives have not been easy. Donations of stamps and stationary from the community, to say nothing of the donated time of 3-5 volunteers a session, have kept program costs minimal, but the rewards in human connection are priceless. For the holidays, the December 11th regular session will be billed as the Christmas Card Extravaganza. Sustainable Ballard thanks individual donors from our community and local businesses like New Seasons Market who recently donated boxes of holiday cards. Stamps, postcards and stationary are always welcome.