Kind-hearted teen sends 16,000 Valentine's day cards to people who won't usually get one

For Patrick Kaufmann, Valentine's Day is about sharing love with those who often get ignored on such days. He obtained this idea a while ago when he first made 30 valentine's cards with his friends as a youth volunteer at a non-profit. Those cards were packed inside home-delivery meal packages and sent to sick children and adults. “I kept thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could find a way to give everyone a valentine who might not get one?’” said Patrick, 14, a student of Washington International School. “I decided it wouldn’t be much trouble to make a few more,” as reported by The Washington Post. And the few became many.

In 2020, Patrick asked help from the students at his school to create 300 valentines cards to be sent out for Valentine's Day 2021, along with meal packages given out by Food & Friends, a non-profit in D.C. that works with people with cancer, HIV & AIDS and other serious illnesses. Then he went from 300 to 3000 cards in 2022 with the help of students from several D.C. And this year, he went on to create 16000 Valentine's Day cards for people who usually do not get one. They were reportedly made by students from 62 schools in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Moreover. Patrick personally recruits the classrooms that volunteer.

He also created a website for his project called, "Valentines by Kids." Through this initiative, he encourages people to cut out colorful hearts, write messages of kindness and help spread love through them. The 16000 cards packed in boxes will be picked up at his home in Potomac by delivery drivers and will be taken to 60 organizations that Patrick has coordinated with. It includes hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and Food & Friends, where Patrick volunteered with his father for years. “With more than 16,000 cards to distribute, our house looks like a FedEx distribution center,” said his father, Roy Kaufmann, a lawyer who works in D.C. “We didn’t quite anticipate just how successful Patrick’s efforts would be,” Kaufmann said. “But he has it all under control and we are very proud of him.”

“They mean a lot to people who don’t have much family and are living alone,” said Patrick, a ninth grader at Washington International School in D.C. “A valentine will also really cheer people up if they’ve been sick or are working a lot.” “I hope it makes them realize that somebody is thinking about them and cares,” he added.

Carrie Stoltzfus, executive director of Food & Friends, said that she is grateful for Patrick's efforts. “It’s wonderful that Patrick thought to bring so many young people together to send messages of kindness to those we serve who are living with serious illnesses,” Stoltzfus said. Patrick hopes that the cards bring smiles to the faces of the people who receive them. “I love getting valentines, and I also like to make them,” he said.

He shared what keeps him going when it comes to this project. He said that he feels a sense of accomplishment when he sees these stacks of heart-covered boxes. “My parents, my uncle, and grandmother help me bundle the cards and put them in the boxes, but sometimes, it’s hard to keep up,” he said. “After Valentine’s Day, we’ll all be taking a little break.”

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