Residents of the Midtowne Assisted Living and Memory Care reached out a helping hand to the community while enjoying the Olympic games in Rio.
The seniors, their families and other community members collected food items as part of the Olympic Food Drive organized by Midtowne Assisted Living activity director Holly Ross and community relations director Kevin Klein. All food and cash donations will be delivered to Manna House. When the drive closed on Sunday, many of those who donated came to watch the closing ceremonies in Rio and celebrate the pile of donated goods.
See more photos from the event here.
“The residents were really excited about in,” Ross said. “Many residents feel a lot of people come here to help them, but they have a lot to offer and they were excited to have a way to serve the community. They all have a heart for that.”
The partnership with Manna House was something Ross said she had been wanting to start since she was hired at Midtowne Assisted Living earlier this year.
“I have grown up here in Midlothian and volunteered at Manna House,” Ross said. “When my dad lost his job, we went there a lot. So I have always had a heart for them.”
Those who participated in the drive received small medals of their own in thanks. Those families who donated one food item for every gold medal won by an American up to 50 received a gold level award. Families that donated one food item for every silver medal won by an American up to 25 received a silver level award and every family that donated at least 10 items received a bronze level award, Klein said.
“We thought it would be fun to watch the Olympics and the medal count. But I knew some people would like a firm number,” he said.
The dining room at the facility was decorated with strings of flags from the participating Olympic nations around a Rio flag for the celebration and red, white and blue popcorn added a patriotic touch. Players from a local select baseball team, the Bobcats, showed off their ping-pong skills for the residents.
Timing the food drive to match with the Olympics also helped fill a need at the Manna House food bank, said Sissy Franklin, director of Manna House.
“Summers are really hard because kids are at home and parents are watching them and there is a lot more need,” she explained. “Kids get free and reduced lunches at school and don't during the summer. All of our families come in at some point in the summer.”
Because of the extra traffic, supplies run low in August and September until holiday food drives help pick it up, she said.
Many of the donations were made by Midtowne Assisted Living residents, their families and community members who heard about the drive on social media, Klein said. People started coming by the facility to drop off good and the box in his office got fuller every day.
On Sunday night, Klein estimated at least 200 items had been collected to donate to Manna House. He said Midtowne Assisted Living will continue to accept late donations for Manna House and he encourages people to donate to the non-profit directly.
Given the success of this drive, Ross said she will certainly look at setting up other drives in the future, possibly a school supply drive next summer.
Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BethanyKurtzMidloMirror or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.