An internet-based exercise in Christmas giving wrapped up its fifth year last week, lifting the holiday spirits of 175 adults and children.
Facebook Angels, a grassroots gift-giving activity that pairs generous hearts with residents of Prestonsburg’s two nursing homes, as well as those staying in Mountain Comprehensive Care Center’s adult and chidren’s crisis centers.
Organizer Brent Graden says he had no problem finding angels for each name on the list, a testament to local generosity.
“Five years ago I set out to see what my fellow friends and I could do by using social media … in particular Facebook,” Graden said. “I wanted to see if we could raise enough awareness of our great residents here in our nursing homes here in Floyd County. I wanted to see what we could actually accomplish. I wanted to see if enough people could pull together and give a little more this Christmas and make the miracle happen for others who may not have a lot during the holidays.
“In five short years, we have now ‘adopted’ every nursing home resident in the Riverview Nursing Home and the Prestonsburg Nursing Home. as well as Mountain Comprehensive Care’s Adult Crisis Center and Kids’ Crisis Center. That’s over 175 gift bags in all. Mission accomplished.”
The effort began the day before Thanksgiving, when Graden posted a list of 175 names on his Facebook page. Within four days, every name was taken. Those adopting one or more names purchased gifts for their targets, then dropped off the items at Harper OB/GYN, where Graden is general manager.
“The items on the list are not expensive,” Graden said. “Some need a throw blanket, some need some socks or shampoo or maybe a nice locket to wear when they are mingling with the other residents. But more often than not, they are items that they need, although one resident wanted a stocking completely full of Nutty Buddies this year!”
Monday evening, Graden was joined by Santa and several volunteers in dropping off the gifts.
“This shows the heart of Eastern Kentucky and in particular Floyd County,” Graden said. “The people here care a great deal about their community and it shows in their commitment to our elders. And in other cases, they are also helping others that are at-risk or are in crisis.”
Graden said he would like the program continue to grow, with leaders in other communities starting their own Facebook Angels programs.
To participate in next year’s Facebook Angels, simply add Graden as a “friend” on Facebook. The day before Thanksgiving you will see a post and picture with the complete wish list for all Facebook Angels. Simply select one and turn in the gift bag before the appointed date. For more information, call Brent at Harper OB/GYN at (606) 886-4277.