Beyond the children’s playground, past the big, blue beach chair and down the wooden plank walkway by the fishing pier in Sandbridge’s Little Island State Park is The Little Red Mailbox, where anyone can “Leave a Note of Hope.” The mailbox, painted red by Outer Banks artist Vicki Horning, was established on March 5 by Daniel’s Grace, a Virginia Beach-based nonprofit helping to support families stricken with cancer. Jodi Newland, owner of Sweetwater Cuisine in Virginia Beach, founded the organization after losing her husband Daniel to colon cancer at the age of 32.
The mailbox at Sandbridge is the fifth of its kind. Others are located in Buxton, N.C., Mechanicsville, Va. and Johnstown, Pa., with the first being founded in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. by resident Sue Goodrich. Alongside the windswept dunes and ocean, The Little Red Mailbox has served as a way to reconcile losses with heartfelt messages for anyone to read. Inside the mailbox is a pen and journals, filled with inspirational entries or drawings to bring a smile to the face of anyone who could use a little uplifting.