Circle K members bring holiday cheer to elderly

By Joelle McGinnis

NIU’s Circle K members began their efforts to spread holiday cheer Tuesday by making holiday cards and planning visits with local retirement home residents.

The hand-made holiday cards will be taken to DeKalb County Nursing Home, 2331 Sycamore Road. Circle K members plan to visit with and distribute cards to about 185 residents before the winter break begins, Circle K Secretary Jeanette Lehman said.

She said the group decided on the project when “we were brainstormig for a nice way to reach out and give something to residents for the holiday.”

Nursing home activities director Mary Dienst said groups such as Circle K, in addition to bringing gifts, sometimes help with planned activities by playing games and visiting with residents.

“Some residents don’t have a lot of visitors, so they especially enjoy the visits from young people,” said Dienst. “It would be nice if we had as many visits after the holiday.”

Circle K plans to continue making such visits on a more permanent basis as part of the Pine Acres Retirement Center, 1212 S. Second St., “adopt a grandparent program,” said Circle K member Jimmy Ng.

“We came up with the idea to have a long-term project, not just a one-shot thing,” he said.

Ng said about six to nine members will bring cookies and meet with residents this Sunday to socialize and establish matches with grandparents.

“It is a flexible project that depends on each individual’s schedule,” he said.

Each member will be assigned to a resident who will be their “grandparent,” said Lehman. Members can spend as much time as their schedule allows with visits to talk, send cards or bring cookies, she said.

“We’re matched on our interests, so it is just like they’re our own grandparents,” said Ng. “I’m really looking forward to it.”