Having four children and the responsibility of raising kind, loving, happy, helpful children was Patricia Gallagher’s life. She loved being a parent. When the kids moved away from home, she felt her life was falling apart. She thought there was nothing she could do about it …..until 4000 stuffed animals transformed it!
EMPTY NESTER MOM FINDS HER PURPOSE!
Two years ago, Philadelphia area writer Patricia Gallagher, asked her 85 year-old mother and college-age daughter to go with her to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to the residents of two nursing homes. To make the dramatic reading of the story more fun, she gathered lots of colorful props to go along with the story – Christmas stockings, gingerbread ornaments, stuffed animals and bright-colored afghans and quilts.
“Stories for Seniors” was a simple volunteer concept that changed Patricia Gallagher’s life. So far, more than 65 senior healthcare facilities have received visits from Gallagher. And the readers of Craig’s List collected more than 4000 stuffed animals and blankets for her to give when she visits the lonely and discouraged in nursing homes, AIDS hospices and hospitals.
Each stuffed animal, says Gallagher, sends a vital message to the recipient, “Someone cares.” Some things you never outgrow!
Patricia Gallagher is an empty-nester mom who collects stuffed animals for people who need comfort and hope. Her van is loaded with hundreds of furry critters. So far, 4000 of them!
Where does she take the stuffed animals? AIDS hospices, nursing homes, veterans’ hospitals, shelters, Gilda’s Place, mental health facilities, cancer support groups, senior living communities and recovery houses.
And where did she get all of them? She collected most of them from posting requests on Craig’s List!
Suggested Interview Questions:
• Why are you doing this? • Where do you store all of the stuffed animals? • Where do you take them? • How has this project changed your life? • What lessons have you learned about the lonely and people who need encouragement? • How can other people start a project like this in their community?