OGDEN - When Darlene LaPoint of Ogden opened her door Friday morning to receive her usual Meals on Wheels delivery, she received an unexpected surprise - a homemade valentine.
A smile crept onto her face when she noticed the pink heart cut out from construction paper with its accompanying Happy Valentine's Day message sitting on top of her meal. "Happy Valentine's Day to you to!" LaPoint said in a cheered voice, "It's so nice that somebody remembered us," said LaPoint, who then asked who the valentine was from.
The valentine, like the hundreds of others piled in the delivery vans for Davis and Weber County Senior Service Meals on Wheels Program on Friday, were delivered from people all across the nation as part of the dosomething.org campaign for young people.
Several weeks ago, valentines started making their way through the mail to the doors of the Weber and Davis County Senior Services Departments that deliver Meals on Wheels to their homebound residents, nearly 500 in Weber, and just over 300 in Davis County.
"I thought it was a great idea because for many of them when our drivers go out, that is the only contact they have with other people on a daily basis, so for them, just having that one special thing can just brighten their day," said Paula Price, director of Community Services in Weber County.
As Valentine's Day started nearing, Price said they had received nearly 100 homemade cards, something that surprised them all, but then they worried they might not have enough for everyone, so they made arrangements with Wasatch Elementary in Ogden, whose students made over 400 Valentines.
It didn't hurt that the kids were learning something in the process. "I think this is important for them because kids these days really need to learn empathy," said third-grade teacher Kim Montanez at Wasatch Elementary. "So many kids are into their video games and their iPod, not really thinking of others, so this is a good opportunity for them to think about what it might feel like if they didn't get a Valentine on Valentine's Day."
Shortly after her plea to Wasatch Elementary, to Price's surprise, 100 more homemade valentines came in from the West Haven City Youth Council, which they then delivered to residents at local senior centers. "I just think it is really neat that people would take the time to do that, making it a priority and showing their interest," said Price.
All of the effort to make homemade cards paid off, as evidenced by Carol Silverman's reaction when she received her meal and Valentine on Friday morning. "I think this is really sweet and nice to have somebody think of us," said Silverman of Ogden.
One of the drivers delivering the meals and Valentines said it was worth the extra hassle getting out the meals and cards. "I've often said the worst illness these people have is loneliness," said Thomas.
Other schools also had unique Valentine's Day activities. West Point Elementary and Buffalo Point Elementary students sent out a request through social media, asking for Valentines. They received hundreds of Valentines coming from such places as Turkey, China, Norway, and Germany.
Some of the cards had to be interpreted, such as the one first-grade teacher Angie Jones received from Armenia. One of the other teachers was able to read the card, which said they celebrated Valentine's Day slightly different.
The day before Valentine's Day they eat cookies made from salt with no sugar, hoping to have a dream where their Valentine brings them water, then they celebrate with festivities on Valentine's Day.
Jones has been doing the activity for eight years, and uses it to help students mark on the map where the card came from. This year, her class received more than 300 from all over the world. It helped that a student's father works for an interpretation company, and has quite a few international connections.
Some of the cards coming from China or the middle-eastern countries sent non-Valentine's Day cards, since that is not a holiday they celebrate.
"For a first-grader, this helps them get a little broader understanding of their world, since they get a little mixed up about their city, state, and country sometimes," said Jones.
At Syracuse Arts Academy, Adrianna Herbertson also used social media to have people send her fourth-graders valentines, so they could learn fractions using the cards, using the location of the card as the numbers in their fraction.