Community opens its heart to Park Dept. valentine’s venture

Monday, February 8, 2021
Displaying a portion of the more 2,100 valentine cards and gifts donated to a special Valentine’s Day project, Greencastle Assistant Park Director Chrysta Snellenberger gets ready for their delivery to six Putnam County senior living locations later this week.
Banner Graphic/ERIC BERNSEE

Local residents have opened their hearts and minds to a Valentine’s Day project organized by the Greencastle Park Department.

As of noon Monday, local individuals, scout troops, classes, churches and more had donated 2,176 valentine cards and miscellaneous candy bags, stuffed animals and knitted hats to a project orchestrated by Assistant Park Director Chrysta Snellenberger.

Her idea was literally heartfelt.

“It came from my heart basically,” Snellenberger said Monday, “as I was thinking about all the families not being able to see their family members in nursing homes. I was just brainstorming about a way they wouldn’t be forgotten.

“As a kid,” she continued, “I made valentines for my grandparents. I tried to bring that to a bigger scale.”

And that she did.

After announcing her venture at the Park Board meeting, Snellenberger sent a press release to the Banner Graphic and other papers and posted information on Facebook.

She also talked to Girl Scouts about the project perhaps being a way to “earn a badge for art or for caring.”

That idea took off as Girl Scout troops 4543, 5439, 3570 and 4556 all jumped on board and created valentines.

Classes at Deer Meadow, Tzouanakis and South Putnam schools and the Area 30 early childhood education class soon seized the opportunity to contribute to the holiday effort.

The young women of Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints made 44 paper mache valentines, while new Park Board President Cathy Merrell and her family did 29.

There are homemade cards from Judi Birt and bags of cookies and candies from Jean Hull of Reelsville. Hull also fashioned the knitted hats, which is something she does for preemies at Indianapolis hospitals.

“It just blows me away how creative people got,” Snellenberger praised.

The 2,176 cards (the majority handmade), 11 stuffed animals, 12 hand-knitted hats, 20 coffee mug rugs and more will be distributed this Friday. Snellenberger believes she has received enough items that each nursing home resident will get four valentines.

She will let the staff at Mill Pond, Asbury Towers, The Waters, Autumn Glen, Hickory Creek at Sunset and Summerfield Healthcare Center in Cloverdale decide who gets what.

“Most of the people have a close connection with someone in a nursing home or have had families members in one, so it pulled at their heart strings,” Snellenberger said.

More valentines are expected to come in this week from other groups.

“It makes me feel really good,” Snellenberger said.

As she was talking about the project, there came a knock at the park office door. Lori Mitchell entered with some more valentines.

Told that the park project had topped the 2,000-card mark, Mitchell was quick to respond, “That’s awesome.”

“It shows we have a heart here.”

Heartwarming indeed.

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  • Such a wonderful project! I know all the residents will appreciate getting these nice cards and gifts! Thank you for making their day special!!

    -- Posted by jake71 on Wed, Feb 10, 2021, at 2:05 AM
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