READ Association of Saginaw accepting cards, letters for seniors living in nursing homes during pandemic
The READ Association of Saginaw will be accepting donations of cards, letters, or children’s artwork to go to seniors living in local nursing homes.
SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/14/20) - The READ Association of Saginaw will be accepting donations of cards, letters, or children’s artwork to go to seniors living in local nursing homes.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the nonprofit organization to suspend its READing STARS program. That program was a collaboration between five area nursing homes, the Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services (STARS), and local schools that would send children to nursing homes to read to residents on a weekly basis.
Cynthia Pape, the director of READ Association of Saginaw County, said that the decision stop the program back in March was heartbreaking.
“I still remember on March 11th getting calls from all of the different nursing homes saying that we were not able to come and it just really broke my heart,” she said.
Pape said that the program started in early 2018 with just one school and one nursing home but grew to five schools and five nursing homes by the 2018-19 school year.
“The children read books to the residents and they were able to form intergenerational bonds and just cheer each other up and they got to know each other," Pape said. "Told each other their stories and it was just really nice and heartwarming for everyone.”
The pandemic is not allowing the program to continue this school year but Pape said they still wanted to do something so that the nursing home residents did not feel forgotten.
“We just knew that we wanted to do something that would brighten their day," she said. "We felt like obviously our visits were the most important, that face-to-face, but without being able to do that, sending cards or well wishes or notes or pictures from children would also be something that could come into the building and brighten their day.”
Putting the call out on Facebook, the organization is asking for the community to send in cards or letters so they can distribute them to the nursing homes.
For Pape, this is also personal. She recently lost her mother over the summer and she was staying in a nursing home.
Pape said that the last several months were extremely difficult because of the pandemic and knew that other families were going through the same thing. She said she wanted to start this new program so that no one living in a nursing home felt alone.
“I lost my mom this summer and it’s been very difficult," she said. "But I’m trying to find ways to turn something that’s bad in my life into something that’s good for others. And so with that, I’m really hoping for a great response and I’m hoping that our community steps up and takes care of our most precious people.”
People who would like to send in cards or letters can send them to the READ Association at 100 S. Jefferson Ave., Suite #203, Saginaw, MI 48607. Or they can be dropped off in their drop box on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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