Connecting generations during social distancing

OXFORD COUNTY – March 21, 2020 –  As we continue to follow the unprecedented actions taken to protect our communities against COVID-19, now is the time for us to come together to support each other any way we can. That’s why we started Pandemic PenPals or “Project PanPals: Connecting Generations During Social Distancing.”


At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oxford County, we want to bring smiles to residents in long-term care and retirement homes who are unable to have visitors at this time. Visitor restrictions are an important step to prevent the spread of this disease, but can be an incredibly lonely time for seniors. Therefore, we asked our Littles, their mentors and families to write letters to the residents to let them know we are thinking about them.


We have had an overwhelming response already, but want to keep the momentum going to ensure as many residents as possible can receive letters. They will in turn, write letters back to our participants. Currently we have partnered with Woodingford Lodge (Tillsonburg, Ingersoll and Woodstock) as well as Caressant Care centres in Oxford County. Y


If you are interested in participating, please read our Guidelines below:

Who can write a letter:

Any mentee (Little) and/or their mentor or family members. BBBS staff members and general public.

What to put in a letter:

It is up to you how much personal information you want to include or not include in your letter. But here are some ideas of what you could write about:

  1. Describe a little about yourself; your likes, dislikes, favourite subjects, activities
  2. Tell them about your mentor and what sort of things you do with your mentor and how it has changed your life.
  3. Talk about how you are passing the days while not in school
  4. Ask about them – what do they like to do, do they have grandchildren etc.
  5. Share an encouraging message, a poem or quote
  6. Ask them who their heroes or mentors were when they were growing up (tell them about yours) and
  7. What life advice would they pass along to kids today.
How to address the letter:

Because we don’t know what resident will receive the letter, start the letter with Dear Friend, until you get a note back with their name. You can send your letter electronically to us to deliver or mail your own.

For more details and instructions, contact:

Carla Garrett, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oxford County