Senior citizens to receive valentines from ETCHA

Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to companionship, but many residents, particularly those in nursing homes or other hospitals, do not have access to their families, so several different groups decided to come together and change that.

Girls from the East Tennessee Christian Home and Academy came to Factory Connection Wednesday to deliver a donation of valentine bags to Signature Health Care nursing home.

Melissa Marvel, Director of Services at the academy, said the project was one of the many ways they get their students involved.

“It is good for the girls to get involved,” Marvel said. “They really enjoy helping others.”

The white paper bags had pink ribbons for female residents and red ribbons for male residents. Students from East Side Elementary created valentines to place inside each bag, but that is not the only item the academy put in them. Each bag also contained a pair of socks and other hygiene-related items.

Nancy Barry, a sales associate at the store, said the academy does a lot of work for other people, so she thought the store should do something with them, too.

“It was all Kathy Sherer’s idea,” Barry said. “We wanted to do something for Signature Health Care.”

Residents at the nursing home will receive the Valentine’s Day bags Thursday morning.

“This is wonderful,” Quality of Life Director at the nursing home Roberta Campbell said. “The residents will love to see the valentines tomorrow morning. They really appreciate the support.”

Kathy Sherer, the store manager, has done similar donations over the past few months, including a canned food drive during the holidays.

“We are really proud of the girls,” Sherer said. “This will really help the community here.”

Valentines will not be the stopping point for the academy’s efforts, however. They said they plan on hosting a shoe drive, starting the following day and lasting until May.

“We will accept any pairs of shoes, other than sharp heels,” Marvel said.

Those who want to donate shoes during this time can either drop them off at Factory Connection or by calling the academy at 423-542-4423.

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