By Deb Silverthorn
The tenet of giving unto others has not slowed during the pandemic and the residents at The Legacy Willow Bend remain beneficiaries of the kindness of many.
“We’re thankful to everyone wanting to make a difference for our seniors,” said Rivae Campo, volunteer coordinator at The Legacy Willow Bend. “The sky’s the limit for volunteering prospects. We don’t say ‘no’ too often and we can make almost anything work,” said Campo, “even in this time when being together means while we’re apart.”
Volunteer opportunities available include video chats with residents; creative gift packages and greeting cards for residents and the staff; holding collection drives for niceties such as hand lotions, sugar-free soft candy, notebooks with pens, nail polish and small packages of tissues; fabric to make no-sew blankets (3 yards per blanket); and large print books, including puzzle and adult coloring books.
Vered Golan shared her talents in floral design by creating dozens of arrangements which were distributed throughout the community. Two Eagle Scouts completed their service projects, one providing herb gardens and a second creating mile markers promoting exercise. Dallas Jewish Funerals donated bingo game prizes, the Friend and Foe Board Game Café delivered meals for health care staff, and Amy’s Hallmark delivered more than 150 greeting cards for the residents.
Dozens have donated face shields and pens decorated with flower toppers, blank cards, jars and plants. Many volunteered their time for FaceTime chats, phone calls, virtual activities and recordings to share on The Legacy’s internal television channel.
While Jewish Family Services’ summer Rabbi Gerald J. Klein Internship did not happen, The Legacy’s assigned intern, Peyton Ellis, was able to still volunteer off-campus.
“We’re following all COVID-19 protocol and guidelines and are not able to schedule in-person volunteer activities,” said Campo. “I am also working from home and look forward to the day we can all be back on-campus.”
Many of the residents themselves participate in volunteer programs, and are grateful to be together while practicing social distancing.
The Legacy’s Knitting and Crochet Club, which began in 2010, remains fruitful. By the end of 2020, they will have created and distributed nearly 28,000 items to Cochran United Methodist Church; Dallas and Plano police departments; Hope’s Door and Streetside Showers in McKinney; Jewish Family Service, Christ United Methodist Church and Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano; Plano ISD, National Council of Jewish Women, Vickery Meadow Food Bank and Clothes Closet; and several shelters, schools and other organizations.
“Right now, it’s a delicate ballet to choreograph gathering supplies, collecting completed work and donating to the centers,” said volunteer Carol Sobol, “but our hearts are full, and our hands are still creating.”
The group’s need for skeins of medium worsted weight yarn, in any solid color, including variegated yarns, is great as its annual mah jongg tournament, which “charges” yarn donations rather than cash entrance fees, has been canceled this year.
The residents themselves are returning respect, writing cards and letters to police and fire departments, to in-patients and for JFS to distribute with holiday food packages.
“It’s better to be strict than sorry, so we’re making it happen,” said Col. Ben Greenfield, who has lived at The Legacy for five years. “I’ve written thank-you notes to first responders and written trivia questions for game days,” he said.
At 86, with a 33-year career in the U.S. Army, a business career after that and years of volunteering at Operation Kindness and JFS behind him, sitting still isn’t his style. “It’s all in there in one line in the Bible: ‘Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.’ There is no disclaimer that suggests we must only ‘do’ when things are good.”
For information about volunteering at The Legacy Willow Bend or The Legacy Midtown Park, contact Rivae Campo at 972-468-9191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.