“It just exploded,” Community comes to aid of nursing home residents in need this Christmas

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BLANCHARD, Okla. (KFOR) - When a nursing home in Blanchard asked for a little bit of help this Christmas, organizers say they were overwhelmed by the response and even some of the littlest residents got involved to help others in need.

Organizers say it all started with a simple Facebook post by the admissions manager at Senior Village Healthcare Center in Blanchard.

Heather Spoelstra said she made a post inviting the community to "adopt" a grandparent for Christmas.

After it was posted on Facebook, the Blanchard Police Department created its own call to action.

"Adopt A Grandparent. Senior Village has asked that people in Blanchard take time to visit and perhaps even take some holiday gifts to residents. Many of them have gone without visitors and could really use the compassion, and companionship," the post read.

Hours after the original post was made, Spoelstra says her inbox was flooded with responses from the community.

"It started out, we were thinking just the residents who don't have a lot of family or very many visitors, and it just exploded. I mean, so many people wanted to help out," Spoelstra said.

Less than 24 hours after the original post went live, Spoelstra said every resident in the building was 'adopted.'

Over the past couple of weeks, organizers say they have been overwhelmed with visitors, carolers and others who have purchased presents for the residents.

In addition to church groups and individuals helping out was a group of pint-sized crafters from Amber Wright's third-grade class at Blanchard Elementary School.

"I happened to see a call out on Facebook, asking for people to adopt grandparents and so I answered the call," Wright said.

Wright says she asked the children and their parents if they would be willing to help.

"It's been amazing. Our parents, we usually have such a great community in Blanchard and I'm always blessed with amazing parents. This year, there is no exception at all. I put the call out and they filled the need. It was just overwhelming," said Wright.

In addition to providing goodie bags for residents, the students also created crafts for them.

"I really feel like teaching is important. Do we need to teach them skills? Yes, we need to teach them reading, and writing, and math and things. But I really feel like we need to teach them socially how to be great people and I think that kindness is really an important part of that," Wright said.

Wright says that now they know about the need of the residents, they plan to continue to connect with the residents throughout the year.

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