CALGARY -- What started off as a single Facebook post asking for Christmas cards to be sent to care home residents quickly blossomed into an outpouring of messages and letters.

Staff at Sage Hill Retirement Residence in northwest Calgary put a request Tuesday on social media asking for cards for the seniors and the response was immediate. 

"It's been phenomenal that the community has certainly come together, and by community I mean beyond,” said Wendy Roby, lifestyle director at Sage Hill Retirement Residence.  “We've had responses from a global level all over the world, Europe, Germany, Italy, Ethiopia, Dominican. It's been insane.”

More than 500 cards have been received by the care home in the first few days, as well as countless emails from schools and families who are wanting to spread holiday cheer. The large amount of support was not anticipated.

"We really weren't expecting this level of response from the community,” said Roby. “ It was more like, we're all kind of isolated let's see if we can get a couple of cards to some residents to brighten up their Christmas, since we're all going to be at home alone for Christmas, no one's able to see family.”

They've even gotten emails from people requesting to send a card to each of their 180 residents.

While the cards are heartwarming to residents, Roby said the people sending the cards have also mentioned how happy they are to be a part of the program.

"It becomes two-folded care. For the people providing the cards, they're feeling super connected. And then for the people receiving, they'll feel super connected. It just becomes a beautiful act of kindness," Roby said.

"My whole perspective of COVID right now is, we are so limited in what we can do, it's focusing on what we can do. And it doesn't need to be something huge just those small little gestures go a long way."

While Sage Hill care home may be overwhelmed with cards, Roby hopes that the community spirit can inspire others to send a card to their local care home.

"I would encourage people to check to see what residence exists in their communities so that other seniors can also benefit from this.”

Before sending a card to another facility, Roby recommends contacting the care home to see if they are accepting cards, as each home may have different restrictions due to COVID-19.

Care home residents are not the only ones who appreciate messages of support during this time, care home staff also appreciate words of encouragement and knowing that others are thinking of them.

"If someone's been posting something super sweet like 'thanks to the caregivers', we've been posting them in our facility for everybody to see.”