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Program comforts lonely seniors
Boxes of Love makes sure elder orphans not forgotten
new deh Box of Love logo

 There are hundreds of seniors in Barton County living alone and dependent on local agencies for food, socialization and basic human contact. So, for the second year in a row, come Valentine’s Day, a host of local agencies wants to make sure these residents are not forgotten.

United Way of Central Kansas will spearhead the collection of items for “Boxes of Love” from community members, which will then be distributed before or on Feb. 14. 

“This is such an easy and simple way to say thank you to those seniors in our area who have spent their lives taking care of us,” said Gaila Demel, UWCK executive director. “Now we can do the same for them.” 

Filling a void

There is a need to help those the American Geriatrics Society is calling “elder orphans.”

“These seniors have no family or friends to help them, or just keep in contact with them,” said Linn Hogg, RSVP of Central Kansas director. Many have been home-bound so long they have fallen through the cracks of any social circles to which they might once have belonged.  

“We are asking the community to help us collect items for the boxes and drop them off at one of our drop-off sites,” said Hogg. “Here is a chance to thank people in the community that were once helping others but now need a little kindness in return.”

Golden Belt Home Health and Hospice Director Donita Wolf was very pleased with the local participation last year. 

“Our clients that received the boxes last year were so appreciative of the outpouring from the community,” she said. “The boxes helped to brighten their day.” 

Wolf noted that the many donations from last year made it possible to include clients in surrounding areas and it showed the need to expand to other areas. This year, Hoisington, Larned and Ellinwood will all have drop-off sites as well.


How to help

One can drop off their donated items by Feb. 4 at Hoisington locations: First Kansas Bank and Clara Barton Hospital. Great Bend sites are First Kansas Bank, St. Patrick’s Church, St. Rose Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, Farmers Bank & Trust, First Christian Church, Community Bank and Sunflower Bank. In Larned items can be dropped at Pawnee Valley Community Hospital and Farmers Bank & Trust. In Ellinwood sites are located at Sunflower Bank, Community Bank and Ellinwood District Hospital.

Business are welcomed and encouraged to participate. 

Suggested items include: Stationary/Note Cards, Stamps, Soap, Toothpaste, Shampoo, Conditioner, Combs/Brushes, Candy & Gum, Cough Drops, Individual Packs of Tissues, Hand lotions, Winter Gloves and Lip Balm. 

Think travel size when making donations. Cash donations will be accepted. Make checks payable to United Way of Central Kansas.

Just call RSVP, 620-792-1614, for pick-up of collected items.