FORTVILLE — Barbara Kellermeyer doesn’t recall the illustration or the wording of the card that women from her church sent when her daughter died.
She just remembers that it came, a comfort that’s still with her even years later.
Kellermeyer, a longtime member of Fortville Christian Church, said the church’s Love in Action group had also sent other cards before her daughter’s death to let her know they were thinking of her.
“They were very attentive and very kind,” she said. “It’s a wonderful thing that they do.”
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Each month, about a dozen women gather in the church library to send cards to cheer people who are sick, encourage those facing tough times, and acknowledge someone who could use a word of appreciation or remembrance. That might take the form of valentines for the church staff, recognition for a longtime custodian, or a card to a church member now living in a nursing home.
They pull each card from a cardboard box and pass it around the long table for signing. A stamp and a Love in Action address label are the next step.
“A lot of people say, ‘I got the card,'” said Betty Lane, one of the group’s longtime members, inbetween cards signed. “They appreciate being remembered. It’s just something we can do that doesn’t require that much time.”
Virginia Kemerly leads the group. The faces around the table have changed over time, but veteran members like Lane have been encouraged to see younger members join the group in recent years.
Tracy Krueger moved to Fortville about a year ago, started attending the church last summer and joined the group in January. Her grandmother was a card-sender and instilled that practice in her, too, she said.
“It just shows that you really do care,” Krueger said. “It’s old school, but it shows so much more caring.”
Quite a few of those gestures of caring have come to the mailbox of Kellermeyer or a family member over the years. One when her husband died. One for a son who lives two hours away.
“They know when one of my kids is sick, and they send him cards,” Kellermeyer said. “I think that’s pretty special — when they even reach out to my loved ones.”
Over the years, that reaching out by the group has included other kindnesses, such as a spring gift bag with lotion and other items for shut-ins, or care packages for college students. The women decorate tables for funeral dinners, and some of them help arrange who’ll pitch in what food.
The Rev. Rob Rigsbee, lead pastor at the church, said the group stays true to its name, showing love by actions.
“When unsuspecting circumstances hit peoples’ lives and create challenges, everyone facing those challenges appreciates a little encouragement from someone who cares,” he wrote in an email. “They have touched so many lives in simple ways.
“…As their pastor, I thank God for these ladies who care so much about other people. The ministry they do really does show the heart of the gospel of Jesus.”