The World Health Organization has said social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The problem worsens as we get older.
Zoe Moser, a 12-year-old student at Bull Run Middle School in Gainesville, Virginia, knows from personal experience.
When she wasn’t able to visit her elderly cousin who lives in a nursing home in North Carolina, she got an idea for a new business called The Zoe Project.
She wanted to make a handmade card to show her cousin that she was thinking about her, so she did. Then other residents of the nursing home wanted cards too, so she sent them to others as well.
Moser said the cards sometimes have inspirational Bible verses, or words of encouragement to help lift a person’s spirits.
Moser said her church also stopped visiting the nursing home in her area, so she decided to send cards to residents she used to see.
She said she has expanded her business to make cards “for people who were incarcerated or people in nursing homes, people in jail, anyone I thought of, or anyone who felt forgotten.”
She says she has sent her cards to people in states including Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and California.
For more information on how you can take part in the project, check out her encouragement cards on Instagram under The Zoe Project.