When she was still able to volunteer at a nursing home in the Philadelphia area, 15-year-old Hita Gupta set up events for residents, from bingo to trivia. Now, she's still helping seniors stay active, thanks to her special goodie bags.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, visitors are no longer allowed at most nursing homes, and Gupta worried this would result in residents feeling "loneliness, boredom, and anxiety." She came up with the idea for goodie bags to help "stimulate their minds and keep them occupied," Gupta told CNN. Each bag has an adult coloring book, colored pencils, a large print puzzle book, and a note from Gupta's 9-year-old brother, Davit.
At first, Gupta used her allowance to buy the items, but she has since started fundraising in order to distribute more bags. She calls nursing homes in advance to coordinate deliveries, and has so far dropped off goodie bags to 18 nursing homes. Gupta told CNN she won't stop until the pandemic is over. "We need to let nursing home residents know that they are not being forgotten and that they are not alone," she said. "As a community, we need to work together to make seniors feel loved and valued."