ELGIN, Ill. — Scott Homola’s mail box has been overflowing with more than 200 birthday cards from strangers who’ve also sent him packages and gift cards from across the country.

That’s all thanks to a “kindness project” in honor of the Elgin man, who has Down syndrome and suffers from Alzheimer’s, and who turned 58 on July 3.

“I’m just blown away,” said Homola’s sister, Debra Schaffer.

The Daily Herald ran a story July 2 about the initiative that started on Facebook. Three days later, Homola was getting cards by the armful, and more keep arriving each day, his sister said.

“I read every one of them to him,” she said.

The article mentioned he loves Matchbox cars and blowing bubbles, and much to his delight, he received a set of 20 Matchbox cars and a box with an elaborate bubble-making set, his sister said. He also received candy bars, a restaurant gift card and money.

“I was shocked with the turnout he got from all this,” Schaffer said.

Schaffer fears this will be the last birthday her brother will remember due to his progressive disease, which makes the project all the more touching to her. He had already received more than 100 cards since the project started in October.

Homola lived with his late parents until he moved in with Schaffer six years ago. He functions at the level of a 3- to 7-year-old, and has been a great roommate, always easygoing and helpful, she said.

Schaffer is collecting her brother’s cards for a scrapbook that he helps decorate with stickers. She also keeps track of where they come from with push pins on a map.

“I’m trying to send you ‘thank you’ cards to everyone, but some aren’t signed and a lot of them have no (originating) address,” she said. “That means so much to me, to see him smile. I wish I could thank every single person.”


Source: (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald, http://bit.ly/2vcefH0


Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com

This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald.