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Boxes of Love lift Valentine’s Day spirits of home-bound seniors
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Barton Community College softball team members pack boxes for the Boxes of Love project this week. The boxes go to home-bound seniors on Valentine’s Day. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

For home-bound seniors, Valentine’s Day can be lonely holiday. That is where the annual Boxes of Love project, spearheaded by United Way of Central Kansas, Meals On Wheels, ElderCare Inc., RSVP of Central Kansas and Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice, steps in to the picture.

That project culminates this today as those decorated care packages are being delivered to over 200 shut-ins in Great Bend, Hoisington and Ellinwood. RSVP volunteers, including CUNA Mutual Financial Services employees, and ElderCare will handle the Valentine’s Day deliveries.

“Once again, the generosity and outpouring of kindness in our community is overwhelming,” said Gaila Demel, UWCK executive director. “This year’s Box of Love project reiterates the caring and compassion our community shows one another when put to the test. I’m always humbled by these actions.”

In mid-January, collection boxes were placed in businesses, churches, community centers and elsewhere as drop-off points to gather items that would be delivered in a Valentine’s Box on Valentine’s Day to seniors who are home-bound. These included items such as stationary/note cards, stamps, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, combs/brushes, candy and gum, cough drops, individual packs of tissues, hand lotions, winter gloves and lip balm.

Drop-off points were located in Great Bend, Hoisington and Ellinwood. This year Kutina Dental Office, Marc Huslig, Tatum Dunekack and Chad Ohnmacht donated toothpaste and toothbrushes to the boxes.

But, the highlight of the boxes are the beautiful art projects and cards from made by Caring Hands Day Care and other individuals.

Boxes of Love couldn’t happen without key partnerships with Dillons Stores, Thrivent Financial, Midwest Energy Community Fund grants, friends of United Way, and the volunteers from Barton Community College, Great Bend Children’s Learning Center, St John’s Child Development Center, Circles and CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions, Demel said. “I thank everyone who made donations and appreciate how special this will make our seniors feel this week.”

RSVP of Central Kansas recruited athletes from Barton Community College, which sponsors RSVP, to help with the box prep and packing. The women’s softball team was on hand at the Farmers Bank & Trust meeting room Wednesday to fill all 200 plus boxes for delivery.

“It is great to see the enthusiasm the athletes had in helping with this project,” said Linn Hogg, RSVP director. “Many of them are far from their own home but willing to help out those around them.”

The softball team was eager and excited to help this year, Demel said. “It is always fun to watch their reaction when they read the Valentine’s Day cards.”

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Shown are the Barton Community College softball team members who helped with the Boxes of Love project sponsored by United Way of Central Kansas, Meals On Wheels, ElderCare Inc., RSVP of Central Kansas and Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO