Love In Action: Happy Bags for Nursing Home Residents
Grace King, one of our interns, shares how Happy Bags filled with simple gifts reminded nursing home residents that they are loved.
As an intern with theHeart, I was responsible for designing and orchestrating a project that I felt passionate about. The idea for Happy Bags came after I read some startling statistics about nursing home residents.
According to a recent article, 60% of nursing home residents do not have regular visitors. Health Progress reports 20% of nursing home residents suffer from depression and an additional 30% suffer from the symptoms of depression.
At Christmas time, it's easy to send a group of carolers to liven the spirits of these "elder orphans" of the Baby Boom generation. But what about the rest of the year? During flu season, it's challenging to plan a visit to a nursing home with a large group of people while properly ensuring the safety of residents.
It's sad to see these people go unnoticed, and they need to be reminded that someone cares for them even if we cannot be there in person.
On Monday, April 23, fellow interns Evan Prislovsky and Hannah Siegel, and I went to Deerfield Ridge and Glenbridge to deliver 70 Happy Bags to local nursing home residents. These bags included coloring books, Germ-X, crayons, socks, homemade cards, Bible verses, and sugar-free candy. theHeart dedicated two Sundays to collecting and packing the bags.
The nursing home residents were ecstatic when they found out the bags were for them. Some of them even tried to return the bags because they thought we had the wrong room. Two ladies, in particular, kept hugging Hannah and me. Their warm spirits were uplifting.
The staff at both establishments were incredibly receptive and grateful. They told us not every resident has regular visitors; this would be the highlight of their day.
Watching the residents' faces light up made the hard work of planning and executing the project worth every minute. The new friends we made at Deerfield and Glenbridge were kind and talkative. Our conversations were beautiful. It was a pleasure to serve. I hope we continue donating Happy Bags to nursing homes in Boone as part of theHeart's Love In Action initiative.
"Our interns have truly built up this church family," Next Generations Director Ethan Hardin said. "They have expanded our reach in our own church, our community, and even abroad. It is a blessing to have such wonderful servant-hearted leaders finding their passions in service."