How one Birmingham teenager is bringing a dose of positivity to coronavirus patients and isolated seniors with his Caring Cards for COVID-19 initiative
By Chelsie Dzbanski
From small businesses shifting their focus to producing masks to restaurants delivering meals to frontline workers and organizations collecting donations, Metro Detroiters have been stepping up to help our city amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Inspired by the efforts of his fellow community members, Isaiah Rubin, a junior at Groves High School in Birmingham, decided to get involved. As his schoolwork started to transition to online, Rubin’s mother, Lindsay Hords, encouraged him to start a project that engaged families and urged people to unite for a cause without having to reach into their pockets. After much thought, Caring Cards for COVID-19 (CC4C) was born.
“The goal is to add cheer and color to someone’s day,” says Rubin, who collects handmade greeting cards from friends and family and delivers them to Detroit-area hospitals and senior centers. So far he’s distributed approximately 500 to 600 cards to Beaumont’s Royal Oak, Troy and Farmington locations, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and DMC Sinai Grace, as well as seniors who are living alone at the Sheridan in Birmingham and other facilities in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties.
How it works: People create cards with positive, cheerful messages — the cards are screened to make sure they’re uplifting — and drop them off at one of four locations around Oakland County. The cards are quarantined for five days after pickup and then distributed to recipients. (For those unable to access the drop-off locations, Isaiah suggests reaching out to him via email for safe pick-up or shipping options.) CC4C offers the perfect, creativity-sparking activity for people of all ages who are stuck at home.
“The response that Isaiah and his CC4C initiative has been receiving has been overwhelmingly great,” says Hords. Thanks to social media, Isaiah has even attracted the attention of people beyond Metro Detroit: Friends from Chicago have mailed in cards and others have reached out to find out how they can contribute greetings. “I personally did not think Isaiah thought this would receive such a great response but it has,” she adds. “And he is extremely happy.”
Patients, for their part, are super appreciative of Rubin’s efforts. Nurses, including Rubin’s aunt Ali Otis (who’s working on the frontlines at Beaumont in Royal Oak), have said that their patients are truly touched by the cards, which serve as their only connection to the outside world. “The patients are only seeing the nurses that are covered from head to toe in PPE, and these cards may bring some happiness,” says Rubin.
With a goal of reaching more local hospitals and senior centers throughout Metro Detroit, Rubin is hoping to bring this small but powerful act of kindness to more patients and seniors in need. After all, all it takes is some paper, markers and little bit of time to make someone’s day brighter.
If you are interested in creating a card, please include positive messages, get well sentiments or anything that relates to “thinking of you.” Please visit caringcards4covid.com for more information and how to contact Isaiah directly.