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How Canada Post Is Encouraging Folks To Reach Out And Write With Free Postcards

Canada Post is providing prepaid postcards to 13.5 million households in the country. This is one of six designs that will arrive in mailboxes this week and next.
Canada Post is providing prepaid postcards to 13.5 million households in the country. This is one of six designs that will arrive in mailboxes this week and next.

As the world approaches a year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the appeal of virtual happy hours and other ways of staying connected via screens has faded for many people.

Enter Canada Post, which is providing an alternate way for people to connect with those they're missing — one postcard at a time.

Earlier this week, Canada Post began distributing 13.5 million blank, prepaid postcards to every residential address in the country. In turn, the recipients mail them on to someone they're thinking of.

Leave a sweet note or a doodle on the postcard and off to the mailbox it goes, no stamps required.

"We just thought we need to do something for Canadians and try to put a smile on each other's face and to tell someone that you care about them and you've been missing them for the past year," Sylvie Lapointe, a spokesperson for Canada Post, tells All Things Considered.

Lapointe says the idea came after the postal service's marketing team saw a big jump in the volume of greeting cards over the past year, especially during the Christmas season.

"It's an extension of that, as well realizing that people needed to reach out to each other to connect to each other in a way that doesn't involve maybe an email or those Zoom calls that everybody got on in the first few months of the pandemic," says Lapointe.

There are six different postcards, in jewel tones and adorned with simple messages like "I've been meaning to write," "Wishing I were there" and "Sending hugs" in both English and French.

It's not clear how much Canada Post will spend on the campaign. But it costs roughly $1 Canadian dollar (75 cents) to mail a postcard within the country.

Canada Post is encouraging people to use the hashtag #WriteHereWriteNow to share their postcards on social media.

Among them are some angry Canadians posting invective to their least favorite politicians. But Lapointe says that response to the idea has been overwhelmingly positive, and that most people have embraced the original spirit of the campaign.

"People have been posting who they're sending the card to, and sometimes saying how difficult it can be to choose one person when you've been missing so many friends and loved ones in the past year," Lapointe says.

"A lot of people seem to be sending them to someone in long-term care, so someone who's been isolated from their family for a long time," she says, adding that others are sending their postcards to paramedics and other public health workers "who are in the news all the time and working to try to keep communities safe."

Farah Eltohamy is NPR's Digital News intern.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.