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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Warm hands warm hearts

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Asbury Towers activity director Gayle Gowen straightens donations on a mitten tree in the lobby of the assisted living community. The project, which will benefit needy children in Putnam County, was spearheaded by Asbury Towers resident Marian Wright. [Order this photo]
GREENCASTLE -- For senior citizens in assisted living communities, it can be difficult to feel like they're making a difference.

Marian Wright, who resides at Asbury Towers in Greencastle, decided she would not let not being able to be out and about as much as she used to stop her.

"(Wright) goes to Gobin (Memorial United Methodist Church), and they had a mitten tree there to collect mittens, scarves and hats for needy children in the area," said Leslie Phillips, activity aide at Asbury Towers. "She thought it would be nice if we could do something like that here."

The staff at Asbury Towers decided to help Wright with her project, and before long a small Christmas tree was set up in the lobby, and residents were invited to adorn it with donated winter accessories.

"We put fliers in the residents' mailboxes," Phillips said. "They've been really excited about it."

The staff at Asbury Towers is dedicated to helping their residents remain active in community service endeavors.

"I think it's important for the residents to feel like they can contribute," Phillips said. "(Wright) is 90-some years old, and she just wants to help people. She has such a nice heart."

Wright was thrilled when she found out a mitten tree was happening at Asbury.

"She started crying," Phillips said. "She was just so excited that we had taken her idea into consideration and then done it."

The project has taken off so well this year that the staff at Asbury is considering doing it again in 2011.

"We've gotten quite a lot of donations," said activity director Gayle Gowen. "Even the residents who couldn't get out gave us money to go get things."

The tree is now brimming with brightly colored mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and even socks. Some of the items are handmade.

Some of the donations came from Asbury's staff, but the majority have come from the people who live there.

"They've been very excited," Gowen said. "Most of it is from the residents."

Donations for the tree will be collected through the end of the week. The staff at Asbury Towers invites any schools, organizations or individuals who need donations of cold weather clothing items to call then at 653-5148, Ext. 117.

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