VERSAILLES — What started out as something small quickly grew into something great.
Tana Francis, the mother of a wrestler at Versailles Exempted Local School, put forth the idea of “adopting” a resident at Versailles Health Care Center for Christmas, to bring a little extra cheer to someone without a family around for the holidays. By the time the word got around, the Versailles girls basketball team, boys basketball team, bowling team, swim team, wrestling teams, choir and band all wanted to get involved.
It quickly became clear that they could do a lot more than adopt one family. They decided that every resident at VHCC would get gifts.
The VHCC staff provided a list of suggested items, and the student athletes, singers, musicians, coaches and parents started shopping.
“It was very overwhelming,” Francis said of the incredible participation of the community. “Probably over a thousand gifts were there.”
The teams filled boxes with items such as puzzles and puzzle books, highlights, pens, toiletry items, socks, slippers, blankets and stationery, and brought them over to VHCC Dec. 21.
“At one time there were probably 35-40 students there,” Francis said.
All of the teams participated, but since it would have been impossibly crowded if everyone came to deliver gifts, they each sent representatives. Some sent their captains, their seniors, or their youth members.
The music students were caroling, and the adopted families got some one-on-one time with the teams who adopted them.
All of the gifts were set up on tables, and the aides at the center brought the residents in to select the items they wanted or needed.
“The residents, they just loved it,” Francis said. “It was a perfect opportunity to brighten the spirits of the residents and for the teams to give back to the community in a heartfelt way.”