Due to their age, many people are only able to take part in public life to a limited extent. pen& paper Paper wants to do something against her loneliness. The organization uses letters to build a bridge between seniors living in care facilities and everyone else. Co-founder Christian Kaub tells us at Papierus in an interview about the idea.
Mr. Kaub, what’s so special about a letter?
In our digital times the letter is actually out of fashion. It exudes nostalgia and charm and has a much higher value compared to a text message. When you have something really important to say, you write a letter: That makes an impression.
However, a letter is also the means of communication that is familiar to the older generation, seniors are familiar with pen and paper. It’s a cultural asset that connects – and therefore perfect for a conversation between young and old.
"To a very special person". Who gets a letter, feels valued.
What is the idea behind the Pen& organization? Paper?
Many people in Germany live in institutions and tend to be cut off from public life due to age, illness or other reasons. Their social isolation intensified dramatically during the 2020 Corona pandemic.
We became very specifically aware of the problem in connection with our now deceased friend Hein Bollow. The jockey legend of the Cologne racecourse lived in an institution, but even at well over 90 years of age he still came to every single gallop race. When the corona pandemic hit in 2020, that was the end of it, and we thought among friends about how we could please Hein Bollow in his isolation. In a small Facebook group, we came up with the idea of collecting letters for Hein. From this initial spark came pen& Paper, we now mediate letters between many seniors in facilities and people from all over Germany.
About pen& Paper get seniors mail.
If necessary, the nursing staff will assist you with reading.
Video: Origin story and team of pen& Paper
You want to know more about the idea and the team behind Stift& Paper? In this video the organization introduces itself.
How does the mediation of letters work?
Either you contact us as a private person and register yourself as an interested person. After a certain amount of time, which we need for mediation, the letter writer gets an assignment from us and he can get started with his letter.
Or institutions approach us so that letters can end up with their residents. We already work with over 450 institutions, but we are always looking for institutions that want to do something good for their seniors – so we are happy to hear from any institution that contacts us.
Pen& Papier is always on the lookout for facilities that would like to participate in the project.
How the project was received?
For many seniors, receiving a letter is very special.
The initiative was a success from the start. In the beginning, we rounded up our founding members in our circle of friends and asked ourselves: who has which qualities and how they can be used in the best possible way? How we can transfer our expertise to the organization?
So is pen& Paper quickly goes through the roof. Apparently not only we would like to give something back to the older generation via letter writing.
What is the feedback?
Since March 2020 we mediate letters and the interest does not become smaller, on the contrary: Clearly more writing-interested ones announce themselves, than we have mechanisms on the opposite side. There are people from all walks of life and age groups involved, interestingly enough, including the very people who feel they spend half their lives on social networks. We have been able to attract great ambassadors and partners for our organization and have been able to generate awareness through media, Instagram and Facebook. So far, we have been able to offer more than 40.000 Letters convey – that’s great!
The feedback from the facilities is also sensational. Almost every day, we receive feedback about how happy residents are to receive their letters. And that is exactly our goal: We want to put a smile on people’s faces.
What info is important for me when I want to write a letter?
We all work as a team on a voluntary basis and look after Stift& Paper besides our full time jobs. For the letter writers, this means first and foremost:
- Mediation can take some time
- A direct assignment is too costly, therefore write to an anonymous person. The facility then distributes the letters to their local residents.
- Even though sometimes lasting pen-pal relationships can develop: There is no entitlement to an answer! Some seniors are simply physically unable to write or have other limitations, let’s not forget that. If you want to join us, you should not have any expectations, but simply want to make someone else happy.
For those interested, we have also compiled an overview of frequently asked questions.
With pen& Paper you should participate if you want to make someone happy – there is no guarantee of response.
You are welcome to design your letter creatively.
What tips do you have for writing a letter?
Once you get started, it’s usually not that difficult. Write large and legibly, so that older people can also decipher your handwriting easily. Start your letter with "Dear Resident …" or "Dear person and tell something about yourself: who you are, where you come from, a story or a little tale from your life. Share your experiences and, most importantly, spread joy and good humor! The letter should make the recipient happy. If you wish, you can add a small craft or something painted to the letter – there are no limits to your creativity.
Thank you for the interview!
Everything about letter writing at Papierus
You feel like picking up a fountain pen and writing paper again? Write to a loved one in your life or become part of the pen& initiative Paper. You can get everything you need in our stores in Northeim, Osterode and Holzminden. We especially recommend the writing instruments from Pelikan. If you like it classy, you will be delighted with the manufacturer’s fine fountain pens – for example, the well-known "Souveran". Combined with a shimmering gemstone the letter becomes a real eye-catcher. Maybe it may even be a fountain pen with gold nib? In our article "Heart of gold" we show you how the high-quality writing instruments are made.
Or your hand glides best with a good ballpoint pen or ink roller over the paper. Pelikan also offers a wide range of letters, for example from the "Pura" series. Did you know that how clean your handwriting is also depends on the choice of writing instrument?? With the article "The way back to beautiful handwriting Find out which pen suits you and get helpful tips from us on how to make your handwriting cleaner again.
With which pen you can conjure up a beautiful letter? In our store you will find a wide range of writing instruments.