It’s a place where a little goes a long way — it often has to.
“It gets lonely for some of these residents who don’t have a lot of family and friends,” says Carol Lambert, activities director at Scenic Manor retirement home in Iowa Falls.
Scenic Manor lost no souls to COVID but suffered a thousand broken hearts.
“It wasn’t good,” says resident, Shirley Rotgers.” It was stay in and stay in. You couldn’t go out and do anything hardly. Time went slow.”
“Some of them had families that came every day,” Lambert remembers, “and then they couldn’t have them anymore.”
Facebook was a lifeline. Not just for the residents, but for Lambert, too. She searched daily for ideas to cheer up shut-in seniors. One day, she found a winner.
“When I told them about this 15-year-old girl doing this they really were intrigued by it,” Lambert says.
Hardly your average teen, Elle Gianelli of California had started a non-profit, “Socks 4 Seniors” and was rolling in donations and requests.
“I reached out,” says Lambert. “She was trying to reach all fifty states. Iowa had already been picked once, but it had been such a good success she was going around again to the different states.”
Clicking through Gianelli’s pictures of smiling seniors from coast to coast, Lambert could see this would be a hit.
At long last, Messenger brought good news from California.
“She sent me 80 pairs of socks!”
The box arrived this week and Santa himself couldn’t have made better choices.
Avocados for Bob — he’s been to Mexico.
Red hearts for Annie — she’s loving and kind.
And school nurse Marianne Gatton just knew that these were for her.
“All the things that a nurse would use in a nurse’s office,” she says, pointing out the stethoscopes, syringes and nurse’s hats on her socks.
All the way around, the socks fit like a glove.
Almost. For some reason, Rotgers got a pair with bright pink stripes.
“I don’t wear socks like that,” she says. “I wear black socks. As a rule. When you’re as old as I am (these are) pretty loud.”
Cindy Eisenman got cat socks — though she’s a dog person. It’s okay
“I’ve started liking cats, now,” she laughs.
Marilyn Gooding’s orange socks with red polka dots stand out from across the room.
“I just was looking for something bright when she handed me the bag,” she smiles, “so I took the brightest ones in the bag.”
While the socks were admired, the greatest praise was saved for the one who sent them — young Elle Gianelli.
“I have total respect for her,” says Renfro, “and I just think it’s a wonderful thing for somebody to do.”
“I think it means an awful lot,” Rotgers chimes in. “People still care.”
To Elle Gianelli, should you see this, you made the day … in a place where they can run together.