Officer Kelly Hansen removes gifts from the squad car. | Provided Photo.

Residents helped write over 3,000 Valentine’s Day cards and police officers helped deliver the cards along with gifts to senior citizens in Gurnee on Thursday.

An extension of the police department’s Senior Community Group, the Give a Valentine to a Senior program launched in 2021 to fill the social void many seniors have faced since the start of the pandemic, police officials said.

Many senior facilities in Gurnee and around the country have been on lockdown in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The lockdowns limited interactions for family and friends to visit with the senior residents and build upon past relationships,” said Gurnee Police Department Public Information Shawn Gaylor.

Police asked the community to craft valentines, supply cards or write warm sentiments that could be given to each Gurnee senior facility for Valentine’s Day. The response was overwhelming, Gaylor said.

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After posting the request on social media, the police department received valentines from local child care centers, schools, residents, Girl Scout troops, businesses and social media followers as far away as Colorado.

Officer Kelly Hansen and Vice Mayor Tom Hood make a delivery on Thursday to a senior living facility. | Provided Photo.

The department received over 3,000 valentines for the nearly 600 senior residents. On Thursday, the Gurnee Police Department, and program supporter, Gurnee Vice Mayor Tom Hood made deliveries to each Gurnee facility.

Although they could not personally meet with residents this year, the staff at each facility welcomed the delivery of valentines, teddy bears, candy and balloons.

The residents will receive the gifts in time for the holiday with the hope to meet in person soon, Gaylor said.

“This program is an opportunity for the Village of Gurnee and the police department to connect with an indispensable group within our community during a time when gathering in person is not possible,” said Gurnee Police Chief Brian Smith.

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“The immense response from our community shows the compassion that lives within Gurnee. It brought our community together in a socially distant climate,” Smith added.

Hood provided the teddy bears and boxes of candy for each resident. The balloon arrangements were provided by Gurnee business Party Remedies.