‘Hopefully, one day, we could send gifts to every single nursing home resident everywhere, but we’ll do a little at a time.’
“I’m a Brooklyn transplant and I came to Long Island three years ago. My parents were in two different facilities here: Dad was right down the block in a nursing home in Long Beach and my mom was in an assisted living home in Far Rockaway.
“In the beginning of COVID-19, their facilities got locked down and in the end of March, we got a phone call that my dad wasn’t doing so well. We didn’t really expect that a few hours later we were going to get the call that he passed away. And then we didn’t know until we got the death certificate that it was COVID. We had to tell my mother over the phone.
“Then she started not feeling well but she always had a nervous stomach, so we figured it was that. She didn’t have a fever or a cough. But she called and had shortness of breath. My brother asked the assisted living facility to check her oxygen level and it was extremely low. She went to the hospital and passed away from COVID-19.
“From talking to the nursing home administrators, we learned there were so many seniors in these facilities that have no one and never receive a card or a gift, so last Christmas, we started taking up collections for seniors in homes. A bunch of us ladies got together and made gift bags for 130 residents. Then Valentine’s Day came around and we had students make cards for seniors.
“A friend donated party gifts, like heart necklaces and tiaras, and we dropped all of this off. A nursing home administrator told me they heard laughter coming from the residents’ rooms when they were reading the cards and looking at the silly gifts. She said, “We haven’t heard laughter here in almost a year.”
From talking to the nursing home administrators, we learned there were so many seniors in these facilities that have no one and never receive a card or a gift, so last Christmas, we started taking up collections for seniors in homes.
“We’ve now collected gifts for many other holidays: St. Patrick’s Day, Veteran’s Day, July Fourth. I was just named one of Assemblywoman Melissa Miller’s Women of Distinction. I’m almost 60 years old and starting The Micky and Dee Charitable Foundation Operation Gifts for Seniors is probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
“We’re not a foundation that’s getting all kinds of money. Hopefully, one day, we are that big that we could send gifts to every single nursing home resident everywhere, but we’ll do a little at a time. We’ll take a few smiles.”