By Kay Whatley, Editor
The morning of February 13, 2016, was cold and crisp. Inside Zebulon House, the assisted living residents and seniors were warm and enjoying visits from sponsors and volunteers there to bring Valentine’s love.
Inspired by their friend Jerry, a Zebulon House resident, Susan Aceti and her mother worked with local businesses to prepare this special Valentine’s weekend event. Each resident received a beautiful carry-all bag filled with candies, treats, puzzle books, toiletries, natural soap, lip balm, mints, and other niceties. Businesses in Wendell, Zebulon, and Louisburg donated the bag contents and helped cover costs for the event. Volunteers made treats for the staff, too, involving all at Zebulon House.
Susan Aceti, Pat Kendrick, her friend Jerry, and a host of others spent the Saturday morning handing out “love bags” to every residents of Zebulon House. Working with Tina Baines, Life Enrichment Coordinator for Zebulon House, residents gathered in the lunch room that morning.
At first, the room was quiet. Residents filed in slowly, dozens settling in at the white-topped tables spread around the room. Some came under their own power, while others arrived with help from nurses or family. They gathered in anticipation, looking forward to the rare opportunity to celebrate a special event.
As the love bags were given, the room became noisier. Residents perused the bags, dabbing on lip balm or eating treats, and conversing with each other and the visitors. The quiet group found its voice. Smiles spread across the room, through the seated residents and the milling volunteers.
Special love bags were packed for residents who need to watch their sugar intake, and volunteers checked with residents as they went, carefully distributing these bags to the residents who needed or requested them.
The business donors, many of whom attended the event to meet the residents and pass out love bags and cookies, included:
- Barnes Collision Repair Center (Zebulon)
- Bravos Pizzeria (Wendell)
- Brown Bag Bagels (Wendell)
- Carlie C’s (Zebulon)
- McLean’s Ole Time Cafe (Zebulon)
- Olde Heritage Builders (Zebulon)
- Ray Family Farms (Louisburg)
- Simple Soap and Balm (Zebulon)
- Wendell General Store (Wendell)
The organizers and volunteers gathered local donations and packed the bags before the event, then they attended to spend time with residents inside the lunchroom, as well as non-mobile residents in their rooms. The volunteers seemed to enjoy the event as much as the smiling residents.
Volunteers included residents from around Eastern NC:
- Susan Aceti
- Beverly Clark
- K-Lee Daniel
- Angela Dorrzapf
- Susan Faber
- Pat Kendrick
- Michelle Lawson
- Kris Lescinsky
- Dianne Pearce
- Darlene Richardson
- Portia Walls
- Carolyn Williams
- Nichole Williamson
Speaking with Tina Baines regarding Zebulon House visitors, she mentioned their volunteer program. Volunteers from the area are welcome to contact Tina if they would like to volunteer to spend time with residents, providing them with company and conversations on a regular basis. Some residents have few visitors, and community volunteers are welcome. Contact Tina at 919.269.6061. Zebulon House is located at 551 Pony Road, in Zebulon NC. More information about the facility is at www.meridiansenior.com/community/zebulonhouse.
A December 2016 holiday event is in the works, to return and ensure Zebulon House residents enjoy a special event during the holidays. For businesses and volunteers interested in helping with this late-year event, let Susan Aceti know of your interested by calling 919.426.3779. She may also receive messages via her business site, www.mythirtyone.com/susanaceti.
Pat Kendrick and her resident friend Jerry, who used to play cards togetner before he came to live at Zebulon House, were the inspiration for the event. Both attended with family and friends, and were pleased as they watched the event, seeing Jerry’s fellow residents’ joy.