'Project Deliver the LOVE' to bring joy to elderly in Perry and Dallas County

Contributed news from Perry Lutheran Homes
Perry Lutheran Homes is looking for 200 volunteers to help “Deliver the LOVE” to nearly 350 elderly citizens on May 12.

PERRY – Elder loneliness is a silent epidemic affecting the health and well-being of our “invisible elders” right here in Perry and Dallas County. Pre COVID-19 pandemic studies showed that more than 40% of those age 65 and over regularly experience loneliness. One study during the pandemic in June 2020 reported 56% feeling isolated. These feelings of separation, disconnection and isolation lead to serious health problems such as depression, weight loss, cognitive decline, as well as an increased likelihood of death.

“Project Deliver the LOVE” is a fun way for the community to StepUp together with Perry Lutheran Homes to celebrate, serve, engage and connect with elderly citizens. Two hundred volunteers will be joining in the fun and will “Deliver the LOVE” to nearly 350 elderly citizens on Wednesday, May 12.

“Project Deliver the LOVE” was inspired by Perry Lutheran Homes StepUp Movement (Serving Together our Elders with Passion) to take notice of and StepUp to serve elders that are lonely, afraid, hungry or forgotten and also by past initiatives to bring the community together to fight hunger through 100,000 meals packed in four years at Perry Lutheran Homes through Meals from the Heartland.

Volunteers are needed to sign up for one-hour shifts anytime from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can choose to either assemble baskets or hand-deliver the “love,” or both. Sign-up easily online at: perrylutheranhome.dm.networkforgood.com/forms/72303. Or, email or call Sara Nefzger at Perry Lutheran Homes: snefzger@perrylutheranhomes.org or 515-465-5316.

“The community of Perry and Dallas County has too many elderly citizens that are lonely. Some are afraid and hungry. Many feel forgotten. Nothing is more exciting to see than the community SteppingUp and making sure we do everything we can to celebrate, honor, connect with, and take care of our elderly people physically, mentally, spiritually and more,” said Melissa Gannon, COO and Administrator of Perry Lutheran Homes.

Community members are encouraged to think about elders they know who are age 75 or older, live in Perry, or within a 10-mile radius of Perry, and would experience joy by receiving a personal delivery and a basket filled with food, fun and encouragement. Submit elders’ names online at: perrylutheranhome.dm.networkforgood.com/forms/project-deliver-the-love

“The goal for ‘Project Deliver the LOVE’ is that the connections formed continue beyond the delivery of the basket on May 12," said Wanda Pritzel, Director of Charitable Giving for Perry Lutheran Homes. "The hope is that this project helps to form connections between elders and community members that lead to additional visits, conversations, food, smiles and joy. It can be as simple as stopping by to visit, sending a card, or bringing over a meal. The simplest of things can also be the most meaningful helping our elderly folks to remember they are loved and not forgotten."

The basket packing and assembly will take place at Perry Lutheran Homes Eden Acres Campus, 1300 28th St., Perry. Basket packing shifts start at 9 a.m. with the last packing shift starting at 3 p.m. Volunteers will need to be age 12 and over to pack. Basket delivery shifts start at 10 a.m. with the last delivery shift starting at 4 p.m. Volunteers will need to be age 16 and over with a valid driver’s license to deliver.

Volunteers will be screened upon arrival, sanitize hands, given proper PPE if needed and asked to follow social distancing guidelines. Perry Lutheran Homes will be closing off all other areas of Eden Acres Campus during the event to keep everyone safe.

Medium to large baskets with handles are needed to make “Project Deliver the LOVE” a success. Baskets can be dropped off at Perry Lutheran Homes’ Eden Acres Campus at 1300 28th St., Perry. Specific food and/or basket items are also needed. Contact Sara Nefzger at Perry Lutheran Homes to see what items are still needed: snefzger@perrylutheranhomes.org or 515-465-5316.

Community members are encouraged to get a fun group of co-workers, family, or friends together and sign-up online today to “Deliver the LOVE” and bring joy to elder citizens! Use the online sign-up form: perrylutheranhome.dm.networkforgood.com/forms/72303. Or, contact Sara Nefzger at Perry Lutheran Homes snefzger@perrylutheranhomes.org or 515-465-5316.

If you’re not able to volunteer but would like to share some love with a financial contribution, your gift would be used to create and furnish safe and comfortable outdoor gathering spaces for residents and families, as COVID restrictions are being lifted to allow in-person family visits. Make a gift online at perrylutheranhome.networkforgood.com/projects/126396-safe-spaces-for-reconnecting-families or send a check with a notation “gathering spaces” to Perry Lutheran Homes Business Office at 1300 28th Street, Perry, IA 50220

Perry Lutheran Homes is launching “Project Deliver the LOVE” and is looking for 200 volunteers to help package and deliver baskets to nearly 350 elderly citizens on May 12.