It takes a spark
Local program helps those isolated during holidays
For the Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – Holiday season 2020, area residents in the Marshfield Medical Center Home Delivered Meals program had been in their homes for months, isolated because of the pandemic.
They received their meals, but visits with the program’s volunteers, family, and friends weren’t happening, or were very limited. They needed a little spark to get them through the holidays.
It was time to think outside the box and the Silver Sparks program was born, thanks to Home Delivered Meals Coordinator Kris Hughes, volunteers, and donors.
“I got many calls from families stating their parents or loved ones in the Home Delivered Meals program were isolated at home, especially because of the pandemic, with no chance of having visitors as we approached the holidays. Their loved ones were sad to be alone, stuck in their homes with radios and televisions spewing negativity, and it was scary for them,” Hughes said.
So what could spark some happiness, besides a holiday food tray at their doors?
In the past, patrons appreciated occasional little tray favors with their meals, so Silver Sparks was just that only on a much larger scale. More than 150 people benefitted from donated items – mittens, socks, cocoa mix, candies, ornaments, things that “would make their hearts warm,” placed in gift bags to go along with the meals or given to people while they were on dialysis or isolated in other ways.
“The initiative was a huge success”, Hughes recalled, “thanks to the many people who donated fun items, like MMC nursing staff who filled boxes on their units with gifts.”
Silver Sparks also became a community effort, with organizations such as the Marshfield Area United Way and local radio station, WDLB, spreading the word.
From there “the project took on a life of its own,” Hughes said, “and we got unbelievable donations.”
“Silver Sparks did what it was meant to, and touched so many hearts.”
Collection boxes will be located in the Marshfield Medical Center cafeteria, Nov. 15- Dec. 17. Donation boxes are also located at the Marshfield United Way Office, and at the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
A drive up/drop off will also be held Nov. 28, noon-3 p.m., and another Dec. 9, 4-7 p.m.. in front of the hospital, by the gift shop.
For more information, contact Hughes at 715-387-9585 or [email protected].