In November of 2016, my sister, Cindy, and I had to make the difficult decision to move our mom from Assisted Living to a Memory Care facility. While moving her into her new room, I asked one of the caregivers if they had an annual Christmas party that the families could attend and how they handled gifts brought by the family. Her response changed our world forever. She told me that they do have a small luncheon party, but the majority of the residents don’t receive gifts or visitors during the holidays. Some of the employees try to purchase small gifts for the residents, but their resources are limited. I was totally taken aback by this information and couldn’t get it off my mind.
As I was driving home, I called Cindy and we discussed how we could get some help collecting presents for the 35 residents at our mom’s facility. We decided to do a post on my Facebook page and see if we could get any interest. I also posted to a few of the Buy-Sell-Trade sites in the community. Within 24 hours, local businesses were volunteering to be drop-off locations, groups were getting together to make quilts, hats, and walker bags, and hundreds of people were asking how they could help. By December 21st, we had delivered gifts and stockings to 116 seniors in four different facilities and in 2020 we delivered to 838 seniors in two states.
In 2017, we decided to ask the community to help us collect handmade valentines for the seniors. We collected 163 amazing, unique cards made by scout troops, elementary classrooms, church groups, and families with their children, grandchildren, and neighbors. In 2021, we collected 4,851 valentines (which is amazing, considering we were in the middle of the COVID pandemic)! We have had such an amazing response that we have been able to team up with Metro Meals on Wheels and included valentines with meals to seniors in their homes every year.
Allona’s Angels, named after our sweet mom, was derived from the realization that these amazing people need someone to care, someone to visit them, someone to give them a genuine, heartfelt hug, and to simply remember them – and hundreds have stepped up to do just that.
We will continue to make sure as many seniors as possible are remembered during the holidays, and we are looking forward to working with all of you to make it happen.