On October 18th 2011, Dr. David Mount, Community Outreach Director at the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, joined Ms. Wanda Reid, from Shoebox Ministry, in her pursuit to help assisted living facility residents have a merrier Christmas! Since 2008, Shoebox Ministry has been serving assisted living residents in the Piedmont Triad Area with personal need items during Christmas Time. Each year their gifts continue to grow with the support and help from the community. In 2010 alone, Shoebox Ministry was able to provide gifts for more than 150 residents. This year their vision is bigger! The goal for 2011 is to help at least 700 assisted living residents in Forsyth County and the Piedmont Triad.
During Ms. Reid’s first visit to one of the facilities, residents kept asking her the same question over and over: “Is this for me? But you don’t even know me. I didn’t think anyone cared.” Ms. Reid said: “It was truly an eye opener to see the condition that disabled and aged individuals are living in. Many are individuals who have worked their entire lives and due to an unexpected illness are no longer able to totally care for themselves.” Past research indicates that these residents are allowed to keep only a small portion of their income ($30 for nursing home residents and $66 for rest home residents per month) for their personal needs and this amount has remained the same for at least 27 years. “I truly believe in this ministry, it is so important that we show the individuals living in the assisted living facility that we care and appreciate them,” said Dr. Mount’s trainee, Kara Morrison, a recent graduate from Winston Salem State University. To have experienced this first hand made all the difference in the world to Ms. Reid. There is a genuine need to help residents in assisted living facilities and through this partnership we hope to fulfill one need at a time, one shoebox at a time.