Give a child a gift and their eyes light up with excitement. For the children at Abington Hospital and their families, receiving a gift means so much more. Lifting spirits and giving hope, residents at Paul’s Run are putting together gift bags full of hand-made treats and toys for children at Abington Hospital Jefferson Health.
This project is part of an ongoing community service effort known throughout the Paul’s Run community as “Homer’s Heroes.” Named after Paul’s Run’s beloved companion dog, Homer, this group dedicates themselves to leading philanthropic efforts that bring hope to others. Only in their first year since being founded, Homer’s Heroes has certainly lived up to their name, and continues to be a rewarding way for residents to give back.
Bringing all levels of care together
“All levels of care are involved with this project,” says Meghan McGillian, resident services coordinator at Paul’s Run. A true team effort from independent living, personal care, and skilled nursing, each neighborhood of the community works together in the making of these gift bags. “It’s a great way for everyone to get involved and give back to the community,” says Meghan.
While the bags are filled with optimism and motivation, they also include tangible items. In the bags you’ll find stuffed animals the residents sewed themselves, candy bars wrapped in hand-written notes of encouragement as well as greeting cards with special messages for each child.
Independent living resident at Paul’s Run and active member of Homer’s Heroes, Val Lopez, has enjoyed putting her sewing skills to good use. “I’ve sewn my whole life. My mother taught me how to sew, and I passed it on to my daughter,” says Val describing the many generations of sewing in her family. More than a hobby, sewing for Val was a previous profession as she and her husband owned and operated their own men’s fashion store.
Dedicating her tailoring talents to a more benevolent cause, Val along with other independent living residents have worked diligently in sewing these stuffed animals for the children at Abington Hospital.
I hope the gift bags bring the children happiness. The stuffed animals will be a friend for them to cuddle.Val Lopez, resident at Paul’s Run
Val’s motivation for this project stemmed not just from sewing, but bringing comfort to children who need it.
“Coming to the hospital is scary, and tangible items help the children recognize and understand that people are here who care about them,” says Diane Curran, manager of volunteer resources at Abington Hospital Jefferson Health. The Paul’s Run community looks forward to reminding the children that they will always be cared for.