After noticing a nursing home resident shivering cold and crying during a session, California-based licensed psychologist Tracey Burrell, Ph.D., issued a call-to-action to nearby neighbors for blankets that she could give to her patients.
What followed was a huge outpouring of support from the local community that exceeded Burrell’s wildest expectations.
“I set out to gather 10 or 20 blankets for my patients and ended up with enough items to gift every patient in two of my facilities and create ‘welcome’ gift bags for newly admitted patients coming from the hospitals,” Burrell said.
Two of the facilities that Burrell serves are near the Pacific Ocean and often deal with wet and chilly weather during the winter months.
Burrell said she was heartbroken after seeing one resident suffering from the cold in late November. That motivated her to use the Nextdoor app, which allows users to stay informed about the happenings in their nearby community, to issue a plea for blankets, cozy socks and activity books for residents.
“These are people who have nothing and no one. It has gotten cold up there and the facilities are old and not heated well,” she wrote. “For anyone who is willing, I will be placing a plastic bin outside my front door where you can drop off blankets or other donations you would like to make.”
Little did she know that the post would go viral. Burrell ended up collecting more than just blankets for her residents. She also received donation clothing, shoes, activity books, hats and more, for every single resident at the two nursing homes.
The donations required her to make three U-Haul trips full of gifts for residents. She made her final trip on Christmas Eve.
“It was overwhelming,” Burrell said. “I just wanted to spread some positivity.”