A 15-year-old student was heartbroken when she heard she could not volunteer at her local nursing home because of the coronavirus, so she decided to do something about it.
“They told me that I couldn’t visit because they were trying to limit interaction with seniors to prevent the spread,” Hita Gupta told CNN.
Gupta had been volunteering at a nursing home near her home in Paoli, Pennsylvania, for more than a year — where she was in charge of organizing activities for the residents such as bingo and trivia games.
“The seniors aren’t able to see their families, so that’s causing loneliness, boredom, and anxiety,” she said.
So Gupta came up with an idea to set up goodie bags — each one stuffed with an adult coloring book, colored pencils, a large print puzzle book, and an encouraging note handwritten by her nine-year-old brother.
“The puzzle and coloring books will help nursing home residents stimulate their minds and keep them occupied,” said Gupta.
As for the note, Gupta says her brother helps her out “a lot” when it comes to putting these goodie bags together.
Gupta coordinates with the care homes ahead of time to ensure a safe drop off for the packages.
“I call them and say I’m going to leave the boxes outside the front door. They usually leave it out for a few days to make sure there aren’t any germs before passing it out to the residents,” she said.
She has now dropped off packages to 23 nursing homes in the Philadelphia region.
As news spread of the high school sophomore’s good deed, more people were inspired to help.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people and people are sharing on social media. They’ve reached out saying ‘you’ve inspired me to do a similar project in my area,'” Gupta said.
Gupta initially used money from her own allowance to make the packages, but then decided to make a GoFundMe account to fundraise money and get more people on board with the project. As of Tuesday, she has raised more than $3,600.
The high school sophomore says she will continue to do this project until the coronavirus is over.