You know that little lift you feel when you open your mailbox and find a personal letter among the bills and junk mail?
Imagine finding not one cheerful note, but dozens of anonymous, hand-written envelopes filled with words of encouragement.
Such joy was the vision of Hannah Brencher, who started the More Love Letters movement after navigating the ups and downs of her 20-something life, just out of college, living in New York City and struggling with depression.
Desperate for a solution, she started filling notebooks with the words she herself most needed to hear, then tearing out these “love letters” and leaving them around the city—on buses, at the library, in clothing store coat pockets—for strangers to find.
“I published a simple question on my blog: ‘Do you need someone to write you a love letter today?’ and my inbox filled up with heartbreaking stories,” Brencher told Good News Network. “That one question changed my life forever as I spent the next year writing hundreds of love letters to strangers in all parts of the world.”
Soon after, she created a website-based organization that launches letter-writing campaigns to support individuals who need a little uplifting TLC. Random letters of kindness in communities are also encouraged.
Anyone can post a request for letters on behalf of someone they know, and the site posts new batches of requests weekly and invites visitors to respond to any or all of them. Each request includes a deadline for participation, after which volunteers bundle up all the submitted letters and deliver them—surprise!—to the recipient.
With a community of 24,000 on Facebook, Brencher has been known to spur 500 letter writers to join her in responding to a specific request, totaling more than 80,000 love letters mailed.
Not to be mistaken for a pen-pal program—writers are instructed not to include personal contact information. Brencher believes the connection forged briefly and indelibly through a single letter, even an anonymous one, benefits the individuals on both ends of the exchange.
“I always hope someone will feel loved, valued, and not so alone when they pick up a letter,” Brencher, who resides in Atlanta, Georgia, said in an email. “But the letter writing can be just as much about the person who is writing. It’s about finding those words that you need to hear yourself and passing them on.”
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