Pen Pal Program Brings Cheer to Our Residents


“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” —Aesop

As we take precautions to stay safe and healthy during COVID-19, we’re finding many silver linings! Many of our residents are enjoying receiving letters from folks of all ages all across our community, which has developed into a Pen Pal program.

“Our Pen Pal program has grown organically, mostly through groups of people who were already involved in service to us or to the larger community,” says Public Relations Director Shelia Owens.

Keller Williams Biltmore Village, who had performed acts of service during their monthly volunteer RED days for the surrounding community, decided to raise money to buy every Mars Hill Retirement resident a house plant, and wrote a letter to send along with each plant. Some residents replied to the letters, and now the agents and residents are corresponding.

Local Girl Scout Troop 42504, who has performed volunteer projects such as building and installing a food pantry in North Asheville and making blankets for Project Linus, also began writing letters to residents as a group project.

And a local church group who was making pouches for residents that could be attached to walkers so they could carry essentials like cell phones and Kleenex from place to place has also begun corresponding with residents.

“Our residents who have families who live too far away to do window visits get the letters first,” says Shelia. “And each resident can choose whether or not they want to participate. Many of them do — they are finding it fun!”

Shelia also adds that kindergarteners in Ms. Thomas’s class at Brush Creek Elementary have drawn and sent pictures to send to residents.

“During this time when we can’t have visitors in person, these letters and pictures mean so much,” says Shelia. “Not being able to see people in person is hard on anyone, but the positive side is that our pen pals and residents would have never known each other if we weren’t going through COVID. We’re all choosing to see the blessings that are coming out of this difficult time!”

To learn how you can participate in the Mars Hill Retirement Pen Pal program, contact Shelia Owens at

Be sure to visit the Mars Hill Retirement Facebook page, where you can see the latest happenings in our community.