Artist Lauri Luck’s Illustrated Letters

Small acts make a difference
By The Bark Editors, May 2020
lovefortheeldrly.org

Looking for a way to help others who are enduring this time of isolation and worry? Perhaps your skills aren’t up to making face masks or you’re unable to deliver food but you still want to pitch in. Get inspired by longtime Bark contributing artist Lauri Luck, who sent us an update on a project that taps into her skills as a creative storyteller.

As she recently posted on her social media, “I wanted to share a letter-writing project I’ve just started whose goal is to brighten life for the elderly isolated in senior care facilities & hospice. Attached are four of my illustrated letters. I hope these will help make a difference for someone in need of a little joy in these scary times. I know they have already lifted my spirits quite a bit. I hope you will join me in writing letters for this vital project to help others in need.”

Lauri is an artist with a long history of documenting her life in Northern California’s rural Sonoma County. Portraits of her dogs, cats and family members going about their everyday lives have always been an integral part of her oeuvre. No surprise, then, that these four letters feature colorful pencil renderings of her current menagerie: rescue dog little Billy playing with her friend, Big Ginger; kitties Blossom and Dale snuggling in a box; resident chickens, Billie and Amelia; and Peanut, who’s “full of beans.” Each letter introduces the animals and briefly describes their favorite goings-on.

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The “vital project” Lauri mentions is Love For The Elderly, which was started by a young Ohio man as a tribute to his beloved grandfather. Now, it’s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the admirable goal of “fostering a sense of belonging and hope in our older, often vulnerable generation.” As noted on the LFTE website, “small gestures in everyday life, such as showing compassion and performing random acts of kindness, help us feel loved.” A handwritten card or letter is one of those small gestures with a big impact, no matter what age you are. The letters bring good cheer to their elderly recipients in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, hospices and senior centers during this time of extreme isolation.

Writing a letter is an act of kindness that all of us can do to help brighten another’s day. You need not be an artist, writer or a “creative” type to handwrite a few words about yourself, share an anecdote or riddle, and let the recipient know that someone cares about them. It’s a small, selfless act. It’s also something that children are great at (as evidenced by the sample letters on the LFTE website). You can be great at it, too. Visit lovefortheeldrly.org to learn how to get started.