In West Jefferson, OH, mail volume has been heavier than usual — and not just because of the holidays. "Cards keep pouring in for the Elfrink family," said Officer in Charge Danielle Eppley.
The cards, mostly from strangers responding to an online message and e-mail request that said 7-year-old Nate Elfrink, a brain-cancer patient now in hospice care, wanted to receive 1 million Christmas cards.
Rural Carrier Katy Handley is delivering thousands of cards and letters every day to Nate and his family. "It’s very touching to know in these difficult times people can still come together to show they care and show support," Eppley said.
When the cards started rolling in, Nate’s mother Dode McVey realized a simple online message she wrote updating her son’s condition and suggesting that he would appreciate cards had traveled around the world. Her message was forwarded and posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Rural Carrier Katy Handley loads her LLV with some of Nate Elfrink’s holiday mail.
According to a Columbus Dispatch article
, Nate is growing weaker, so church volunteers now gather, open and sort cards. The cards, messages, personal notes and gifts have provided untold joy at a time when the family is hunkered down to cherish each day and pray for one another.
Nate’s father Todd Elfrink even offered to pick up the cards and save Handley the trouble. "I told him no," said Eppley. "This is the least we can do for them."
"Every card, every good thought, it all means so much," Mr. Elfrink said. An American soldier even called from an Army base in Afghanistan and asked about Nate’s condition and wanted to know of his wants and wishes. The call had a profound effect.
"We should be thanking him for his service, not the other way around," Mr. Elfrink said. "The entire community has been behind us from Day 1.
"One day this week, Nate received more than 600 packages and 21 trays of letters," said Mr. Elfrink. "Another way to remember Nate is to make a donation in his name to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation at nationwidechildrens.org or mail it to 700 Children’s Dr., Columbus, OH 43205.