Spreading Love and Kindness, Not Covid-19

By Madeline Otten

Inspired by a Facebook post, Fluvanna County member Liz Smith and property manager, realtor, and owner of First Virginia Homes Lisa McCormick, got the idea of wanting to distribute cards, letters, and hand-made drawings from kids to assisted living homes within the area to let the elderly know people are thinking about them during this time.

“I saw a post on Facebook, and I was telling Lisa McCormick about it, her mother is in an assisted living home, and her energy and response was infectious,” said Smith. “So we decided to take action.”

Smith got the idea to donate plastic eggs with wrapped candy to place inside for delivery to the various assisted living homes. In addition to the eggs, letters offering hope and encouragement and notes of spirituality, love, kindness, and peace all offered well wishes for good health and continued optimism. The first batch went out to Commonwealth Senior Living.

“The Program Director for Commonwealth for Senior Living was so excited about the letters of correspondence to the residents,” said Smith. “They accepted the eggs, but beforehand, needed more clarification from their in-house nurse on how long COVID-19 could possibly live on a plastic surface and when it was okay to pass them out to the residents.”

The CommonHealth for Senior Living currently has 110 residents – 38 assisted living, 45 independent (some couples), and 24 memory care. For the memory care residents, it was important to keep the messages short and eye catching to engage them.

To ensure extra safety, the eggs that were donated by the Fran Chieffalo who had help from her grandson, Torin McNamara, who both took extra steps with the preparations of the eggs.

“We were very careful about washing and sanitizing while we were filling,” said Cheiffalo on Smith’s original Facebook post reaching out to the Fluvanna community. “All the candies are individually wrapped.”

After the great response from Commonwealth Senior Living, Smith and her team wanted to try again and send goodies to the Envoy in Fork Union. Smith has reached out to many others to gain support and additionally has the manager of Applebee’s on Pantops creating stick figures, Terry Brown of Lakeside Mailbox Services on board, and Pepsi of Charlottesville, whose workers are writing notes.

Smith wrote another Facebook post on how people can help. For those wanting to participate, they can write a short note, make a stick figure drawing, create images through drawings or stamps, and/or anything else that can let the elderly know the community loves and values them during the isolation. There are four drop off locations that can be accessed through communication with Smith. She can be reached on Facebook through the name “Elsbeth Emerald”

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