What if you could impact the life of a senior by stuffing a bear with your church family and friends, for just $20 a person?
About 20 members of Parkridge Church did just that, creating Memory C.A.R.E. Bears for seniors as part of a church serve event with Heart2Heart on March 5.
Each church participant received a kit that housed an unstuffed bear, a little T-shirt to decorate, along with special sensory items like buttons, beads, ribbons and other embellishments to make each bear unique. Volunteers personalized the bears and then were able to name them with birth certificates that will travel with them.
Memory C.A.R.E. Bears are a tangible way for volunteers to send love to a senior who might be lonely. The soft, squeezable bears are especially therapeutic for seniors experiencing memory loss.
Last year, Heart2Heart delivered teddy bears personalized by another group to a different care center. The pilot program proved successful.
“Residents were so touched when they received their own little bear,” said Riana Samaroo, Heart2Heart’s community relations director. “They hugged them close. A few seniors were moved to tears.”
The Parkridge bears will be delivered to residents at Majestic Memory Care in Hollywood by Heart2Heart volunteers connected to that center.
The serve event at Parkridge Church was led by Heart2Heart’s new volunteer coordinator, Antonella Salerno.
“The volunteers poured so much creativity and love into their bears,” she said. “It was amazing to see that level of enthusiasm.”
Heart2Heart offers many opportunities for churches to invest in the aging community. Group projects like Memory C.A.R.E. Bears or filling goodie bags for seniors provide an easy way for busy churchgoers to live out their faith with small acts of love.
If church members are willing to be background checked and become official Heart2Heart volunteers, they can visit care centers as a group and interact with seniors directly.
To organize a group event, call the Heart2Heart office at 954-315-2218. To become a Heart2Heart volunteer, create a volunteer profile.