LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Thousands of seniors across WAVE Country are enjoying a happy holiday thanks to one man’s big heart, a dream that lives on through Opal’s Dream Foundation.
Although Gerald Stith passed away recently, his determination to restore dignity, respect, and joy to thousands of seniors continued this year.
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Stith started delivering Christmas bags to a single nursing home in 2011. A group of volunteers helped his dream reach 100 nursing homes in more than 50 different Kentucky and Indiana cities.
”His heart always grew bigger around this time of year,” Becky Brown, Stith’s daughter, said. ”He probably spent six months getting things together. He wanted to make sure every single resident got a gift on Christmas.”
A similar amount of time was spent on the distribution of 45,000 items to over 7,000 seniors this year. Emily Monarch with Opal’s Dream Foundation said volunteers fill the boxes with the things children don’t ask for, like body wash, tissues, and soap — items that can change make someone feel taken care of.
”Anything we can do to bring them joy this time of year is phenomenal,” Monarch said.
Often there are forgotten communities, but these volunteers are determined to make seniors feel seen and loved every year. For Brown, that means simply following in her father’s footsteps.
”I want to be, hopefully, half the person that he was,” Brown said. “He’s my hero, always has been, and we will never let this fall.”
Opal’s Dream Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. To find out more about the organization’s mission, click here.
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