In this unprecedented time of crisis, some of us have never felt so alone. But in Greentown, friends, and neighbors are coming together to support their community in unexpected ways.
Cards, photos, letters, and artwork covers the nurses' station screens at Century Villa Health Care & Rehabilitation. Other supporters have brought in candy, cakes, chili and other treats for the Century Villa staff working relentlessly to care for their residents. Books, magazines, coloring books, puzzles, word games and more have been donated to help entertain residents while practicing social distancing.
But a nationwide shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a phone call, and a prayer encouraged one Indiana resident to go above and beyond.
Iris Yeager of Hartford City was visiting a friend in Texas when news of the pandemic first broke. When she returned home, she immediately placed herself in self-isolation for the safety of her friends and neighbors. It was during this time, she received an answered prayer through a simple phone call.
“I had been praying, there has to be something I can do,” Yeager said. “Watching how [COVID-19] has progressed reminded me of stories that my grandmother used to tell me about making bandages during World War II. Today, we are fighting an invisible war.”
So when she received a call asking if she would be willing to sew face masks for the staff at Century Villa, Yeager didn’t hesitate.
“I downloaded a template from the internet and got started,” she said.
An avid sewer, she had plenty of fabric, but limited elastic. She read online that people were using children’s stretchy headbands in luau of elastic, so her son immediately went and bought every one he could find. A few days later, 25 masks were completed. She’s now working on the next 25.
With several family members working in the healthcare industry, Iris has a special appreciation for the staff at Century Villa. “When things like this happen, they are on the front lines and we have to take care of them,” Yeager said.
As of today, 120 masks have been donated in total, not including Yeager’s 25 additional masks in the making. Another donor lives in South Carolina; her dad lived at Century Villa years ago. Another, a local bank manager.
“The outpouring of support from our community has been amazing,” said Mike Gerig, executive director at Century Villa. “It lifts all of our spirits to know that we aren’t alone during this difficult time.”
For those interested in supporting Century Villa, the community welcomes cards, letters and children’s artwork. You can also visit https://exceptionallivingcenters.com/e-card to send an electronic note to staff and residents. And snacks and food are always welcome.
“Our residents are resilient, and our employees are well-trained, well-informed, and devoted to our mission of care,” Gerig said. “We’ll get through this, together.”