The Four Tops singing JUST ASK THE LONELY:
Why we are collecting NEW AND VERY GENTLY USED stuffed animals and lap blankets for Seniors.
An inside view of how it all began in December, 2009
My personal story :
Right before Christmas of 2009, I was feeling lost and lonely. My four children were out of college and living on their own. And as for me, I was living back with my 83-year-old mother. I no longer had “my old familiar life and home” and was separated from my husband and feeling pretty much at “loose ends.”
I cried out to God and asked what He wanted me to do. The answer seemed a little off beat. In my mind, I was inspired by this thought: “Go to the Dollar Store and buy a few copies of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Then go to a nursing home and volunteer to read to the residents.”
I did just that. Bought 12 copies of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and 12 copies of The Gift of the Magi.
One of my kids said, “Mom, you are going to do whaaaaaaaaaaaat?”
My mother, 25-year-old daughter and I went to two facilities the day after I bought the books at the Dollar Store. Our first reading of the book took place at the Ivy Hill Rehabilitation and Nursing Care and then we went on to the Hopkins House senior care facility.
We brought lots of colorful “props” that went along with the theme of the story – Christmas stockings, stuffed animals, ornaments, Christmas throw blankets, stockings and mistletoe.
A lot of the items that we used as props were sentimental stuffed animals from when my children were young, so I had to bring them “home.”
The problem was that when we went to leave, the residents did not want to give back the Christmas items- they thought that they were gifts.
So that is how I got the idea to give the residents a beautiful, plush stuffed animal that they could keep.
The following day, I went to the Hillcrest Nursing Home. (All located in the Wyncote/Cheltenham area.)
Many more readings followed that month at facilities in several Philadelphia suburbs and in New Jersey. Lots of nursing homes and VA Homes. Lots of fun for me!
Now, a year later, my project STORIES FOR SENIORS has taken my life in a whole new direction, one that I never could have planned.
And 2,000 Seniors living in senior care facilities now have a furry little stuffed animal to hold for comfort and as a memory of the past. Often the residents ask for an extra stuffed animal to place on their windowsill or a couple as decorations on their bed. And so many ask for several stuffed animals so they can give them as gifts to their grandchildren and friends who come to visit.
My site is http://www.storiesforseniors.wordpress.com
I would like to inspire other “empty-nester moms” and other “lost and lonely people” who are feeling at loose ends. I have found a new purpose for my life at age 59.
And my home has been filled this year with the joyful sight of thousands of donated stuffed animals and soft blankets, and the thrill of meeting so many “new friends.”
“Mom’s Little Project” morphed into a campaign to COVER SENIORS IN NURSING HOMES WITH COMFORT, FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE. I have become known to some residents as THE STUFFED ANIMAL LADY.
The lesson that I learned was that my Loneliness became a Discovery and a New Opportunity!
My other website related to the program that I now offer to Senior Care facilities is:
The website that tells of the books I have written and all about my “Old Life” before I got involved with the Stories for Seniors –
My “old life website” is: www.patriciausa.com
These are photos of the way used to be for residents now living in Senior Care facilities.