More than 400 older adults blessed with visits, baskets of love

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Volunteer Lisa Baker, left, delivers to Perry Lutheran Homes King’s Gardens Campus resident Sandy Laird. Photo courtesy PLH

On Wednesday, May 4, Perry Lutheran Homes hosted nearly 150 volunteers to transform ordinary items into baskets full of love at the second annual “Project Deliver the LOVE” event. Once baskets were assembled, volunteers headed out to deliver smiles, warm greetings and baskets full of love and encouragement to 400 older adults in Perry and northern Dallas County.

The brightly colored and cheerful baskets contained fresh fruit, canned goods, sweet treats, personalized and hand-written notes, prayer crosses made by Perry Lutheran Homes residents, colored hearts from Acorns and Oaks Christian Daycare children, Portals of Prayer devotionals, LWML mustard seeds, brain game and puzzles activity books and more.

Basket recipient responses were overwhelmingly positive:

  • “It put sunshine in my day!”
  • “I am 80 years old and have little company. Visitors are a blessing.”
  • “Thank you for your time spent doing all the work and then coming to give them to us. We were like little kids at Christmas!”
  • “It made me feel absolutely loved!”
  • “What a nice surprise to open the door and two nice ladies had brought us a basket. It made me feel loved. It’s so nice to see someone. My husband and I stay close to home, so seeing someone is special. Thank you so much to everyone who helped in any way. It was so special to be on the receiving end.”

“Project Deliver the LOVE” is one of the ways Perry Lutheran Homes engages and equips the community of Perry and beyond to fight the silent epidemic of loneliness in older adults in a very visible, impactful, fun and meaningful way. The event is all about celebrating, serving, engaging and connecting with older adults forming lasting connections leading to future visits.

  • “The person who delivered a basket to me last year still keeps in touch. I am so grateful and look forward to hearing from them throughout the year. I am so thankful for the work Perry Lutheran Homes does and for ‘Project Deliver the LOVE,’ and I hope they never stop!” shared 2022 basket recipient Dorothy P.
  • “I’m just so proud of Perry Lutheran Homes for always taking care of their neighbors! I’m very proud to have been able to become a #DifferenceMaker, and I look forward to supporting this project for many years to come!” shared an event volunteer via post-event survey.

Baskets were hand-delivered to 400 older adults who live in Perry, Woodward, Minburn and other addresses within a 10-mile radius of Perry. This number included residents living in Perry’s four senior living communities.

In addition to the 150 volunteers on May 4, hundreds more donated basket items. Others made financial gifts to help purchase supplies, food and other necessary items that helped make the event a success.

“We have so many community partners that support and get involved with ‘Project Deliver the LOVE,’” said Melissa Gannon, COO and Administrator at Perry Lutheran Homes. “They see the need to celebrate, serve and connect community members with older adults. They see the happiness and joy that a personal visit can bring. And, together, we can impact so many more lives for the better.”

Perry Lutheran Homes’ highlighted their Meals on Wheels program as a way for volunteers to “deliver the love” every weekday to older adults in Perry and northern Dallas County. Serving nearly 17,000 meals each year, the Meals on Wheels program delivers up nutritious meals, warm greetings and a daily check-in.

Those looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of older adults will find this volunteer opportunity to be very rewarding. Volunteers can deliver meals once a week, once a month or however often it fits within their schedules. Congregations are encouraged to “adopt a month” and have church members within volunteer to deliver meals that month. To volunteer, get in touch with Tonya Swank at 515-465-5342 or tswank@PerryLutheranHomes.org.

Volunteers also learned that the Meals on Wheels program needs $50,000 in funding to continue providing this critical service for 2022 to cover the cost of food, supplies and delivery expenses. Consider making your most generous gift online, or text the word “GIVE” to the number 515-320-8256. You may also mail a check with the notation “Meals on Wheels” to Perry Lutheran Homes Business Office at 1300 28th St., Perry, IA 50220.

Perry Lutheran Homes would like to recognize all the wonderful organizations that made “Project Deliver the LOVE” a great success: Tyson Foods, Aging Resources of Iowa, Angels Care Home Health, Carris Family Funeral Home, Concordia Publishing House, Senior Home Finder of Iowa, Ben’s Five and Dime, Casey’s General Store, Hy-Vee Perry, Suncrest Home Health and Hospice, ThePerryNews.com, The Sonya Group, Artisan Senior Placement, GreenState Credit Union, Fareway, Perry Greenhouse and Supply, Perry Paw Spa, Thrivent Financial, Acorns and Oaks Christian Daycare, Christ Lutheran Church of Bouton, Faith Lutheran Church of Adel, First Christian Church of Perry, Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church of Perry, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church of Perry, St. Patrick’s Catholic School of Perry, Trinity Lutheran Church of Des Moines, Trinity Lutheran Church of Jefferson and Trinity Lutheran Church of Perry.

Volunteers can purchase a “Project Deliver the LOVE” t-shirt online, and make sure to save-the-date for next year’s “Project Deliver the LOVE” on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

Mollie Clark is the marketing director for the Perry Lutheran Homes.

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