Kindergarten students at Gorrie Elementary are using their time at home to spread some cheer to nursing homes in the bay area.
Residents at retirement homes are not allowed visitors due to coronavirus concerns. Students decided they would write letters and draw pictures for senior citizens who may feel lonely.
Gorrie Parent Meg Korakis knows the importance of keeping in touch with loved ones. Her father Josh has been in a memory care facility for more than seven years, and like many, relies on frequent visits from family.
Korakis' daughters, Ashley and AllyB, saw their grandfather briefly in the minutes before his facility closed to all visitors completely.
“It was heart-wrenching to see the love in their hugs while not knowing when we could visit my Dad again,” Korakis said. “With his Alzheimer’s, his memories fade dramatically fast.”
While Ashley and AllyB jumped in with pens and paper to draw and write to their grandfather to keep in touch, others are writing to show kindness to complete strangers. A group text was circulated and within minutes, the idea quickly spread to other students who jumped on the idea.
Six year-old twins Aubrey and Alexandra Bassett dedicated a few hours of their spring break to craft cards complete with homemade butterflies, flowers and shells gathered from the beach.
“It’s an opportunity for our kids to demonstrate compassion, express creativity, and also continue at-home learning like writing and spelling,” said their mother, Laura Bassett.
“It’s a small, yet meaningful communication among this scary, terrible Coronavirus spread and home-quarantines,” said Korakis.
Though visits are limited or prohibited at long-term care facilities in the area, many welcome mail during this time.
Brian Bentz, Executive Director of Palm Garden of Sun City, says he got chills when he heard his residents would receive mail from students. "Simple things like receiving cards, letters and art from students will no doubt brighten their day," said Bentz.
For those who wish to send cards or letters, the list below provides several places who have expressed interest in receiving mail from students. For others, please call ahead.
Palm Garden of Sun City
3859 Upper Creek Dr.
Sun City Center, FL 33573
Woodbridge Care Center
8720 Jackson Springs Rd.
Tampa, FL 33615
Bayshore Pointe Nursing and Rehab Center
3117 W Gandy Blvd
Tampa, FL 33611
The Colonnade at Carrollwood
13550 S Village Dr.
Tampa, FL 33618
Grace Manor at Hunter’s Creek
765 W Grant St.
Plant City, FL 33563