When Diane Ooley’s Bible study group decided to take a Christmas party to Highlands Nursing Home and Rehabilitation last year, they had no idea how it would impact their lives.
Her favorite resident is a bilateral amputee who was homeless and lost his legs from complications of living on the streets. He is young and alone.
“We gave out gifts, sang and served treats,” Ooley said. “It’s a sad place, but we loved the residents and are trying to get permission to go in every week to spend more time with them.”
Last year, Southeast Christian Church members hosted 50 parties and gave away 3,000 gifts to residents in area nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. This year, LifeBridge Coordinator Lisa Reynolds has ordered enough gifts for 75 parties.
Christmas party boxes will include a gift bag for every resident, all the supplies for a party, decorations and helpful hints for games and activities.
“In the gift bags are items staff say are most needed by residents,” Reynolds said. “Response from the facilities and residents has been so heartwarming. They’re already calling us to make sure someone is coming this Christmas.”
Christmas party boxes are available to Southeast Bible study groups, friends and families. Before Nov. 8, Reynolds encourages people to identify a facility, nursing home or group home and call to schedule a party, then call her at (502) 253-8146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a party box.
Margie Lester’s Bible study group has returned to Altenheim Senior Health Care Community several times since hosting a Christmas party last year.
“What I love is we get to love on people who often feel forgotten,” she said. “They love to do fun things. They are sweet and appreciative. The truth is, we get so much more than we give.”
Vicki Feinn took a group of students to Thrive Memory Care at Beckley Creek several times last year.
“The Christmas party was amazing,” Feinn said. “Residents loved it. The staff loved it even more. We brought enough ice cream and toppings for everyone.”
Students dressed in Christmas suits to entertain residents, sang Christmas songs and helped make ice cream treats.
The day of the party, students helped residents make a Christmas tree with wrapping paper and made ornaments with their photos to decorate the tree.
“The director said residents loved seeing their photos with students and talked about the party a long time,” Feinn said. “Their days are so long. They love a party. Southeast makes it so easy that two or three people can get together to put on a party.”