Michigan teen’s card campaign for COVID-19 patients grows nationally

More than 2,000 cards, notes delivered to patients

For patients working to recover from COVID-19 in the hospital, the process can be incredibly isolating.

BEVERLY HILLS, Mich. – For patients working to recover from COVID-19 in the hospital, the process can be incredibly isolating.

A few months ago, Local 4 introduced viewers to a high school student working to make them feel better -- and that mission hasn’t slowed down since.

Isaiah Rubin wanted to come up with a creative way to help coronavirus patients and seniors in nursing homes not feel alone. When his high school closed its doors back in March, Rubin had a lot of time on his hands, so he started a card campaign.

ORIGINAL STORY: ‘You are not alone’ -- Michigan teen collects handmade notes for COVID-19 patients

“I wasn’t really doing much. I was at home like playing Xbox, working out here and there with my family,” Rubin said.

He talked to his family about doing something for the community that didn’t involve asking for money.

“My mom was really who got it started,” Rubin said. “She was like, ‘We’ve got to do something.’”

His aunt, Ali Otis, is a nurse at Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak. She told Rubin how her patients were feeling isolated and lonely and that’s when the 17-year-old high school Junior came up with the idea for Caring Cards for COVID-19.

Rubin started collecting hand-made greeting cards and get well cards from his friends at Wylie E. Groves High School. He made flyers to help get the word out about his card campaign.

“A lot of these patients are people who can’t return home and are there alone. They can’t see anyone that by themselves,” Rubin said. “All they can see are the nurses and so these cards there, where if you’re not alone. Like, we’re in this together. It gives them fuel of hope, I guess, or love and kindness at a time they mostly need it.”

His aunt helped deliver the cards to patients who needed a little cheering up.

“My goal for this whole thing was to form connections with these people,” Rubin said. “To give these people a feeling that people care.”

When other local nurses saw what Rubin and Otis were doing, they started asking for cards for their patients on COVID-19 floors.

Caring Cards for COVID-19 grew from there. Rubin set up several drop box locations where families and children are bringing their own homemade cards.

Rubin goes out every week to collect the cards from the drop boxes, then the cards are quarantined for five days before nurses can hand them out to patients. He has collected more than 700 cards and letters, bringing a much needed emotional boost to those need it the most.

After Local 4′s aired the story in April, Rubin said he received 25 emails within two minutes.

The response was overwhelming -- 2,000 cards came in the next month.

“The cards started pouring in from all over,” Rubin said. “Mostly around Metro Detroit, then like people started reaching out from like, I believe, states like Ohio, California, Illinois, New York.”

Some deliveries have been big. Talia Hortick dropped off 175 cards in one delivery.

“I didn’t think it would be this big. I’m getting these notes from the, from the patients as well as the district people who are making the cards, the distributors, both reaching out to me saying ‘Thank you so much for what you’re doing, This is great. We love this idea like you’re really helping me our family,‘” Rubin said.

Other deliveries have been smaller, but still full of love. Each card brings a little bit of cheer and a big boost for patients who need it most.

“It shows that our community is willing to help like that they really care,” Rubin said. “People are reaching out from everywhere and willing to help and of all ages.”

If you’d like to join Caring Cards for COVID-19, you can find the nearest drop box on the official website here.

About the Authors:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.