Students, community reach out to assisted living residents

By Thomas Nelson,

Smiles abounded at assisted living centers Tuesday afternoon as Charles City Immaculate Conception and public school students delivered Valentine’s Day “Blessing Bags.”

A group of nine middle and elementary school girls went to from facility to facility and handed out bags to brighten residents’ day.

“I decided on Valentine’s Day because Valentine’s Day is usually about love and showing people that you care for them,” said Josslynn Lovik, Immaculate Conception teacher. “A lot of times these elderly people have lost their spouses.”

Lovik’s first job was at a nursing home.

“I actually thought about doing something for the elderly for Christmas,” Lovik said. “I have a real soft spot for the elderly and children.”

After forming the idea, several children and other teachers joined in to help make the idea a reality.

“A lot of people feel sad on days like this if they don’t have things that they get and they don’t have much love around them,” said Kylie Parsons, 10, one of the students who helped pack the bags and deliver them, about why she decided to help. “So this will make them happy.”

Parsons and Koryn Osier, 11, stayed late Monday with Lovik to make sure the bags got stuffed and delivered.

Eleven students and teachers delivered the bags Tuesday after school.

Teachers Jody Osier and Angie Parson went with them to help.

Lovik also works with Jamberry, a nail company that makes fingernail wraps, and started the project with that assistance.

“Then people throughout the community started to sponsor the bags,” Lovik said. “The idea came up and I put it out there and the community just took over.”

Parsons, Osier, Payton Hadley, 11,  Jayden Van Horn, 11, Lanie Hemesoth, 12, Mya Rimrod, 11, Madison Lensing, 12, and Riley Freud, 8, were the students from both I.C. and the Charles City public schools that volunteered to go out to deliver the bags to four different assisted living facilities around Charles City.

“It’s awesome that the elderly are going to be spoiled by the community, and these girls who are, 9, 10, 11 years old volunteered their time, not only to help me stuff the bags but to help deliver them and make a difference,” Lovik said.

The 156 bags were delivered to residents at Apple Valley Assisted Living, Riverside, and to 9th and 11th Street Chautauqua.

The bags contained a bottle of Nourish, a hand cream, chapstick, fuzzy socks, wet wipes, tissues, hot chocolate mix and pieces of chocolate.

“It’s probably going to make a ton of people happy,” Osier said.