Once classes concluded this semester, I thought about where I wanted to complete my Luckyday service hours. I have previously served at locations such as Southern Pines Animal Shelter and The Fieldhouse for the Homeless, but another Luckyday scholar convinced me to volunteer alongside her this time. She informed me that she had contact information for three different nursing homes in the surrounding Hattiesburg community: The Claiborne at Hattiesburg Assisted Living, Brookdale Hattiesburg, and Wesley Manor. I instantly knew this was something I wanted to partake in, as our elderly have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic most of all. With their visitations being restricted for so long, and now continuing to be very limited, I wanted them to know that we had not forgotten them–that we were thinking of them and there to support them.
I cannot imagine being unable to depend on loved ones for support. The elderly at these homes have been isolated from their friends, children, and grandchildren for an entire year now. I, Kaitlyn, and my fellow Luckyday scholar, Brooke LeGrow, set up in her living room and got to work writing letters. Over several hours, we completed a total of 20-30 letters per home. Each one had a different message: that we were thinking of them, that we were sending love, and to stay safe these hot summer months.
I learned that even the smallest actions can have the biggest outcomes. I am hopeful that as time marches on, the individuals in this community will once again be able to hug their loved ones without fear. Until then, I will continue to write letters to remind them that the sun will shine again tomorrow. It brought me so much joy to be able to brighten someone’s day, even if I cannot see their faces.
If anyone is interested in volunteering at any of these organizations or sending letters or care packages, their addresses are listed below:
The Claiborne at Hattiesburg Assisted Living – 200 Whispering Pines Blvd, Hattiesburg, MS 39401
Brookdale Hattiesburg – 103 Fox Chase Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39402
Wesley Manor – 246 Westover Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39402
Kaitlyn Wilson will be a senior in the fall of 2021. She is majoring in marketing.