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A group of Mainers is making birthdays extra special, one card at a time

The Sullivan Circle of Friends makes it its mission to handwrite birthday cards for people in town to make their special day a little brighter.

SULLIVAN, Maine — Have you ever had a birthday where you didn't receive a single birthday card? Well, for the past few years, one Maine town might be the only place on earth where no birthday is ever forgotten.

The Sullivan Circle of Friends makes it its mission to handwrite birthday cards for people in town who have upcoming birthdays. Not just a handful of people, but everyone.

"There's so many people that are alone and don't have any family around, and I think receiving a card makes their day a little extra special," Lynn Dunbar said.

Serving as town treasurer, Dunbar has access to every registered voter's birthday in town. Those birth dates serve as the master list for the Circle of Friends.

"I get a lot of comments in the office from people coming in saying, 'We don't know who sent it, but it made our day extra special,'" Dunbar said.

The Circle of Friends gathers at Sullivan's town office a couple of times a month to prepare cards for upcoming birthdays, as a way to send well wishes and comfort.

"People should not feel that they're isolated or alone. That there is someone out there who thinks about them," Andrea St. George Jones, an organizer who purchases all of the cards, said. "That's the thing: when you write one of the cards, you have to think about the person whose name you're putting on that envelope."

Jones recalls all of the times she's gone to a store like Dollar General and Reny's and singlehandedly bought their entire stock of birthday cards.

"I would go with a basket full of cards, and the poor clerk would look at me like, 'What are you doing?'" Jones said.

Birthday cards may be a small and simple thing, but for some in town, it may be the only birthday wish they get.

"This way, all of a sudden, somebody out of the blue sends you a birthday card and it's like, 'Wow, somebody cares about me,'" Candy Eaton, an organizer, said.

A card signed by the Sullivan Circle of Friends is a simple reminder to people in town that somebody is thinking about them on their birthday.

"We usually write a little message inside," Jeanne Edwards said. "And if we know the people, sometimes we can say a little something that can make them smile or laugh."

The Sullivan Circle of Friends is a group that stems from Age-Friendly Sullivan, which is part of an AARP network of age-friendly communities.

If you are interested in donating birthday cards or money to contribute to buying cards and stamps, you can drop off or send your donations to the Sullivan town office at 1888 US-1, Sullivan, ME, 04664.

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