More than 25 people have donated items or money to the project, including a generous gift from the Adele Whitenack Davis family, and Bill Bass, who purchased 40 boxes.
Supplies for the boxes must be easy to sanitize and disinfect and require little assistance.
“That was really important to us at this time because we really can’t put any more work on staff,” Ensbaugh said. “We put a tag on them with a heart that says, ‘We’re thinking of you’ or ‘You’re not alone. We want people to think they’re special and not forgotten about.”
Boxes have made their way to New Aldaya, Western Home, Ravenwood and Harmony House, as well as more rural areas, Sunnycrest Nursing Center, Denver Sunset Home and Accura Healthcare of Spirit Lake.
Staff at these facilities are working diligently to keep their residents safe, healthy and happy, including Stacy Roster, household coordinator, at the Western Home’s Martin Suites, which holds about 50 residents.
“It’s tough right now keeping social distance. There’s a lot of confusion,” she said.
Roster received an art box from UNI’s gerontology department last week. She said staff and residents were thrilled with the generosity.
“It was a really nice surprise,” she said.