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Spreading holiday cheer

Becky Vargo • Dec 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Area nursing home residents who don’t have visitors during the holidays received a little Christmas cheer Wednesday from a local caregiver business.

Peace at Home Caregivers owner Laura Lutz, along with employees Meaghan French and Terra Schuler, distributed 40 gift bags to residents at Sanctuary at the Shore and Riverside Nursing and Rehab in Grand Haven.

“It’s just to spread the cheer,” Lutz said. “We can definitely see the need firsthand.”

Care coordinator French said it helps people just knowing that someone is thinking of them during the holidays.

“We do Crusade for Toys, too,” Lutz said. “Everyone does a lot for children, but you don’t see a lot of this for the elderly.”

Lutz said they started the program last year with 30 Christmas stockings, but had enough donations from staff and the community this year to fill 40 gift bags.

“We hope to really build this program and do even more next year,” she said. 

Johanna “JoJo” Milewski was one of the recipients at Sanctuary at the Shore.

“This is just wonderful,” she said as she pulled out the contents of her bag, which included fuzzy socks with “grippies,” body wash, snacks and a handmade lap robe.

Milewski, a former Sanctuary at the Shore nurse, said, “That’s me all right,” when Lutz explained the bags were for people who needed holiday cheer. “Thank you,” she said as she gave each woman a hug.

Louis Dunham of Spring Lake grinned with excitement as he accepted his gift bag Wednesday afternoon at Riverside Nursing and Rehab. He gazed at a Christmas card made by a student from a local elementary school.

“Thank you,” he said as he looked at a calendar, socks and notepads, along with other goodies in his bag.

Dunham, a former factory and foundry worker, took advantage of the chance to chat with his visitors. 

Terra Schuler, a scheduler and recruiter for Peace at Home, and her fiancé’s mother, Virginia Levercom, made all of the lap robes in the gift bags.

“I really like the elderly,” Schuler said. “I’ve always worked with them.”

Schuler said she likes doing something nice for the elderly.

“I hope in the future, someone would do the same for me,” she said.

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