During COVID-19, Good Samaritan Society Prescott Hospice volunteers bring joy to hospice patients and residents of local assisted living, group homes, and nursing and memory care facilities

By Kelly Paradis

Every Monday at 10 a.m., the cars line up in the parking lot of the Good Samaritan Society Prescott Hospice office to drop off the crafts and cards they have created and picked up new projects to work on.

Volunteers restricted from visiting their hospice patients during the COVID-19 pandemic poured their energy into creating projects to bring joy not only to their Good Sam hospice patients but to local residents in assisted living, group homes, and nursing and memory care facilities.

Volunteer Coordinator Heather Seets dubbed the project “1,000 Hearts” after calling around to the senior facilities to see if her volunteers could be of help.  She discovered there were more than 1,000 residents and patients who could no longer have visitors, not even family.  Most were under strict stay-at-home orders, even eating their meals in their rooms.

One of Seets’ senior friends, Las Fuentes resident Tess Taylor, was an inspiration for the project.

“We would play checkers each week, or I’d have lunch with her in the dining room and also visit with the other ladies at her table, but now we could only talk on the phone,” Seets said.

Taylor, who recently celebrated her 99th birthday with a party, was sad about the lack of visitors, so Seets decided to cheer her up by sending cards to let Taylor know she was thinking of her.  This sparked the idea of delivering handwritten cards to all the facilities to let residents know they weren’t forgotten during these difficult times.

The idea grew after Seets reached out to the Cornerstone Church to see if the kids would write notes or draw pictures to share. In no time, inspirational drawings and painted pet rocks began filling up the hospice conference room. Seets and the hospice staff sorted, packaged, and sanitized all the homemade art and letters.

Additional groups came forward to help, including local quilting groups and AARP volunteers. Seets also created an Amazon wish list for those who wish to donate supplies for the project.

Each week, the finished crafts are divided up by location and delivered by the hospice staff. Seets and her hospice volunteers hope to continue “1,000 Hearts” even after the virus restrictions are lifted, to make sure seniors know they are loved and valued by their community.