Teen gives 16,000 valentines to people who might not otherwise get one

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Patrick Kaufmann made 30 valentine playing cards together with some pals as a youth volunteer at a D.C. meals nonprofit a number of years in the past.

His handmade playing cards have been tucked inside home-delivery meal packages and despatched to sick kids and adults. Afterward, Patrick, then 10, mentioned he couldn’t cease questioning if there is likely to be different individuals who would respect a valentine however wouldn’t be receiving one.

“I stored pondering, ‘Wouldn’t it’s nice if I might discover a technique to give everybody a valentine who won’t get one?’” he mentioned. “I made a decision it wouldn’t be a lot hassle to make a couple of extra.”

Because it turned out, many extra.

Within the fall of 2020, Patrick requested college students at his faculty to make 300 valentines to ship on Valentine’s Day 2021 with meal packages offered by Food & Friends, a D.C. charity that helps folks with most cancers, HIV, AIDS and different severe sicknesses.

Then in 2022, he upped his recreation, enlisting the assistance of scholars at a number of D.C. space colleges to craft greater than 3,000 playing cards.

This yr he supersized it: He organized making and delivering 16,000 valentines for individuals who in any other case possible wouldn’t get one. They have been created by college students at 62 colleges in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, mentioned Patrick, now 14, who personally recruits the school rooms that volunteer.

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He not too long ago developed a web site for his mission, Valentines by Kids, the place he encourages everybody to chop out colourful hearts, write messages of kindness and assist unfold some love.

Within the days main as much as Valentine’s Day, the packing containers of playing cards are picked up at his residence in Potomac, Md., by supply drivers and are taken to about 60 organizations Patrick has coordinated with, together with hospitals, hospices, nursing houses and Meals & Associates, the place Patrick has volunteered along with his father for a number of years.

“With greater than 16,000 playing cards to distribute, our home seems like a FedEx distribution heart,” mentioned his father, Roy Kaufmann, a lawyer who works in D.C.

“We didn’t fairly anticipate simply how profitable Patrick’s efforts could be,” Kaufmann mentioned. “However he has all of it underneath management and we’re very happy with him.”

Patrick, with assist from his father, bought funding from two native nonprofits to pay for a driver to select up the valentines and ship them to the assorted teams that may distribute them.

“They imply quite a bit to individuals who don’t have a lot household and live alone,” mentioned Patrick, a ninth grader at Washington International School in D.C. “A valentine may also actually cheer folks up in the event that they’ve been sick or are working quite a bit.”

“I hope it makes them notice that any person is considering them and cares,” he added.

Carrie Stoltzfus, govt director of Meals & Associates, mentioned she is grateful for the packing containers crammed with valentines at hand out with the company’s home-delivered meals.

“It’s fantastic that Patrick thought to deliver so many younger folks collectively to ship messages of kindness to these we serve who’re dwelling with severe sicknesses,” Stoltzfus mentioned.

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Patrick doesn’t know any of the individuals who obtain the playing cards, however he hopes his efforts will brighten their days.

“I really like getting valentines, and I additionally wish to make them,” he mentioned.

His mom, Rosario Allauca Castillo, is a trainer on the Easy Spanish 123 language program in D.C., and he or she asks her courses to assist make valentines, Patrick mentioned.

College students of all ages are excited to assist, he added, and so they go to nice efforts to make their valentines stand out.

“Some playing cards are coated with glitter, and a few have stickers or are stuffed with tiny hearts inside,” he mentioned. “No two are the identical.”

College students at Washington Worldwide Faculty say they appear ahead yearly to spending an hour or two crafting valentines for strangers and placing them in envelopes addressed to “My Buddy.”

“It makes me comfortable to know any person will get a card in the event that they don’t have anybody else to spend the vacation with,” mentioned Max Rapaport, 10, who’s in fifth grade on the faculty.

“The least we might do is give them a card exhibiting that we take care of them,” he mentioned.

Max mentioned he put giant purple hearts on the back and front of his valentine this yr, and he included a light-weight pink coronary heart within the center with a poem: “Roses are pink, violets are blue; We predict you might be superb — you simply need to understand it too.”

“The most important half is having empathy towards others and imagining what it will be like of their view,” he mentioned.

One in every of his fifth-grade classmates, Liliana Fadakar, coated her card in pink and pink hearts, saying she wished to “brighten the day of any person who’s sick and is likely to be struggling within the hospital.”

“The most effective a part of making the playing cards was imagining how the folks would really feel after they obtain a Valentine’s Day card they weren’t anticipating,” mentioned Liliana, 10.

Patrick mentioned that’s what retains him motivated to proceed the mission, which he needs to develop if can discover sufficient volunteers.

He says he’s felt a way of accomplishment wanting on the stacks of heart-covered packing containers which have taken over his household’s lounge and eating room.

“My dad and mom, my uncle and grandmother assist me bundle the playing cards and put them within the packing containers, however typically, it’s arduous to maintain up,” he mentioned. “After Valentine’s Day, we’ll all be taking slightly break.”

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