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Project brings gifts - and smiles - to local seniors

Rae Kloepfer, 100, proudly displays the contents of her gift bag she and other residents at the Heirloom Inn received on Thursday night.

Sun Advocate reporter

While many children in Castle Country and around the world were eagerly awaiting for Christmas to arrive to open presents and spend time with family, some of the local population received a pleasant surprise a few days before the big day.

Over 120 seniors at the Heirloom Inn in Price and at the Elmo Beehive Home and Nursing Home in Emery County were presented with gift bags filled with a Mary Kay lip balm, fruit, hand sanitizer, tissues, combs and more as part of the Adopt-A-Grandparent Project.

Debbie Sackett, a local Mary Kay consultant, said the idea for the project has been shared by Mary Kay consultants across the country as a way to give back to their local communities. Sackett said the local project began in late August as she and other beauty consultants in Carbon and Emery Counties helped make fliers and contacted businesses and customers about getting involved with the project. Soon enough, businesses and people in Carbon and Emery County jumped at the chance to give back to seniors in the community.

"For this project we wanted to have something nice to give to the local seniors," Sackett said.

The gift bags also included personal greeting cards from local elementary students in Carli O'Neil's third grade class at Castle Dale Elementary, Maria Lasslo's kindergarten class at Sally Mauro Elementary and Steve Lasslo's second grade class at Castle Heights Elementary, wishing the receiver of the gift bag a happy holiday in a unique way. Mrs. O'Neil's class helped assemble the gift bags along with the Huntington 5th Ward Achievement Day girls.

"The teachers said the students had a blast making the cards for the seniors," Sackett said. "The students were happy to know they could help out people in their communities."

On Thursday night, residents at the Heirloom Inn in Price were treated to an annual Christmas Show put on by the employees, complete with awards being presented to residents and a song and dance show. Before they headed back to their rooms for the night, each resident was presented with a gift bag. Smiles beamed over their faces and some took a moment to check and discover what was put in their gift bags.

Rae Kloepfer, a 100-year old resident at the Heirloom Inn, was overcome with a big smile as she proudly displayed what was in her gift basket.

"This is very nice," Kloepfer said.

Sackett said the original plan for the project was to provide gift bags for the Emery County Nursing Home and the Heirloom Inn. But, as Sackett explained, the generosity and donations from local businesses and customers allowed the project to be expanded to include the Beehive Home in Elmo. Also the amount of donations the project received allowed for the gift bags to include an ornament along with the oranges and other goodies.

While projects like this have been done before, Sackett said they did not have the same amount of success as this year's project has.

"Things worked out really well for the project this year," she said.

Sackett said the hope for the project is to try and expand to include all of the nursing homes in both Carbon and Emery County.

"Sometimes the elderly get left out but we wanted to make sure they received something nice for the holidays," she said. "It makes Christmas for me to give and do something for people in our community, especially for the seniors. This project has blossomed into a wonderful community event."

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