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Adopt-a-Grandparent program brings smiles to New York Mills Elders' Home

For the fourth consecutive year, the Adopt-a-Grandparent program in New York Mills will be bringing Christmastime smiles to the Elders' Home.

The program, organized by Molly Perry and the Mary Kay sales office in NY Mills, seeks to adopt residents at the NY Mills Elders' Home as well as the attached Heritage Manor Assisted Living Center.

For a $20 contribution, businesses and individuals in the community sponsor a special wrapped gift for a resident. Each gift contains a Mary Kay hand cream and lip balm.

The gifts will then be hand-distributed to residents on Christmas Eve, which Perry said is an important and meaningful time to do it.

"The Elders' Home is usually quiet then," she said, "because everybody is celebrating with their own families."

According to Perry, this year the program will serve more residents than ever.

"This is the first year we've been able to do the assisted living center," Perry said.

In addition to the Mary Kay gifts, the Whistle Stop Bed and Breakfast in NY Mills will bake Christmas cookies to be distributed along with the gifts. Designs by Tes floral in NY Mills will be delivering a flower to each resident as well.

Perry, the current Mary Kay sales director, has been in the Mary Kay office for 10 years.

"I heard about the idea and thought that it'd be a great thing to do for our community," she said.

What's been so rewarding about the program, Perry said, is the connection that the gift giving establishes between businesses and community members.

"I've given businesses the opportunity to select who they want to receive the gifts," Perry said. "Sometimes it means more if the resident knows who is giving them the gift."

Perry said that the NY Mills community has embraced the program.

"Every year I come around asking for contributions," Perry said, "and they know what I'm up to and they want to chip in and participate. I appreciate everyone's support."

The most time-consuming part of the program, Perry said, is the gift wrapping. In the past, she received help from a NY Mills high school class, and will be seeking their help again.

"It's a very time-consuming project," she said.

In addition to other community members who come with to distribute gifts on Christmas Eve, Perry said that she also brings along her son Maison - now 5 years old.

"Sometimes the residents in the home have more fun seeing him than anyone else," Perry said. "It's been a great experience for him to participate in giving out the gifts."

Running the program every year is a lot of work, Perry said, but "it's so worth it to see smiles, and to give out hugs."

Perry hopes that all 67 residents will receive a gift this year.

"I'm proud to live in a community where people are so happy to give," she said.