An Indian American high school sophomore in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, has launched a project to help nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hita Gupta, a 15-year-old sophomore at Conestoga High School in Berwyn, is the founder of Brighten A Day (https://brightenaday.weebly.com), a nonprofit that aims to lift the spirits of those who are in need of some cheer by sending them love, hope, and joy through cards and gifts. In an email to India-West, Gupta said: “Nursing homes throughout the United States are limiting seniors’ interaction within the building and visitors are also prohibited, which is causing feelings of loneliness and isolation for many residents, so I am sending handwritten notes and packs containing a puzzle book, a coloring book, and colored pencils/crayons to cheer them up.” She said she has already reached four local nursing homes and will be delivering more packs soon.
Gupta’s nonprofit has reached more than 2,000 kids and seniors in 35 hospitals and nursing homes in seven different states with handmade cards on holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, she said. Brighten A Day is dedicated to giving back to the most vulnerable groups in society and her current project is focused on helping the elderly during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
With one of the very first and biggest outbreaks of coronavirus in the United States starting in a Washington nursing home, Gupta noted in her email that seniors are more susceptible to the virus and also show more severe symptoms. And because of the coronavirus pandemic, nursing homes throughout the United States (including the one where Gupta volunteers) are being closed off to visitors. Many residents are experiencing boredom, loneliness, isolation, and anxiety as they are unable to meet family or friends, the teenager said.
Gupta has been volunteering at a retirement home since her freshman year, and her experiences with the residents there have been so fulfilling, she said.
“It saddens me to think of how lonely or depressed many residents feel because they cannot see their loved ones. I have realized that during this uncertain time which is causing panic for many seniors, it’s our responsibility to give back to them. That is why I recently started a fundraiser to help local nursing home residents during this pandemic.”
Using self-funding and donations, Gupta said she has sent packs of gifts for residents at four local nursing homes: Sunrise of Paoli, Wayne Center, The Devon Senior Living, Green Meadows Nursing Center. If she can raise more money, she said she would be able to “help many more nursing home residents from feeling lonely or isolated while they are unable to see loved ones.”
Those wishing to donate to Gupta’s GoFundMe campaign may do so at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-elderly-at-nursing-homes-fight-coronavirus or through PayPal at https://brightenaday.weebly.com/donate.html.