San Antonio woman’s act of kindness gives her needed morale boost

Handmade Valentine’s Day cards for seniors are both a tribute and therapy

SAN ANTONIO – Each Valentine’s Day card that Melanie Rose Ortega has made by hand has been both a tribute to her late mother Anita and therapy for her as she struggles with the after-effects of Covid-19.

“I decided to fill my time with something positive so that I would not get depressed,” Ortega said.

Ortega has delivered 150 Valentine’s Day cards for some of the residents at Morningside Ministries, a senior residential living facility.

For months since the pandemic began, Ortega had seen the all too familiar images of seniors isolated in nursing homes, separated by windows from their loved ones, reaching out to each other.

“It just really affected me. It made me very sad,” Ortega said.

Making the Valentine’s Day cards also served as a tribute to her mother, Anita, who had passed away.

“It was something that my mother and I did together before she died,” Ortega said. “So it really makes me feel close to her.”

Ortega giving cards to a staff member at Morningside Ministries. (Courtesy of Melanie Rose Ortega)

In fact, Ortega said, at one time, they each had made cards for friends, family and co-workers, but they didn’t know it until she showed her mother one of her cards.

Ortega said after that, her mother would call her asking, “Will you please come over and play so we can make some cards?”

Little did they know then that those cards would be just what Ortega needed during her prolonged recovery.

Although Covid-free, Ortega said, “I can hardly walk from one side of the room to the other without losing my breath.”

Coupled with the persistent fatigue, Ortega said she fends off the dark side of life with her small business that she named after her mother, Annie’s Angel Greetings.

Ortega said, “I have too much to live for and I want to honor my mom.”

RELATED: Celebrating Valentine’s Day at home? These ideas go beyond your couch and Netflix


About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.