Resident wants a special Christmas experience for those in nursing home

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette A Calumet Township resident is requesting donations of 50 new plush, stuffed animals to present to residents of the Gardenview Assisted Living and Memory Care facility in Calumet. Drop-off points are the Calumet-Laurium Community Center on 6th Street, and Otter River Outfitters on Shelden Street in Houghton, next to the Print Shop.

HOUGHTON — Calumet Township resident Naomi White hopes to make a difference at Christmas this year for 50 residents of the Gardenview Assisted Living and Memory Care in Calumet.

White volunteered to serve meals at the facility on Thanksgiving Day and learned of a resident plush cat that purrs and meows. She said the residents take turns with it.

“So for me,” said White, “it made me think of the plush dogs and cats, and that somewhere in their minds, truly that stuffed animal will remind them of one fur baby they owned once upon a time. Animals truly have healing abilities.”

White said she is hoping to have the plush dogs and cats wrapped up and ready to go by by Dec. 14, to be distributed at the facility on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m. Adam Gill of the Gardenview told White he will be available to be present for the event.

White posted an appeal for donations of stuffed dogs or cats from the community on social media, but so far she has received very few donations of a stuffed pet. However, she said, one person in California learned of the campaign and has pledged a number of stuffed pets.

For White, this remains an important cause, not only for her, but for the gift recipients, as well.

“I know many elderly suffer from depression in nursing homes, and some never get a visitor,” she said. “So this seems like a fantastic way to help others and maybe spearhead something to help others on a emotional and soul level.”

Anyone wishing to donate a new plush, stuffed pet can also include a name tag identifying the owner.

“I’m praying I can make this event at Gardenview work,” said White. “It is a small step, and I really was hoping it would have been received well. I need the stuffed dogs and cats to make it work. I have bought a few and have all the wrappings I need to make them pretty just need the plushies.”

People wanting to donate can drop off a stuffed dog or cat at the Calumet-Laurium Community Center located at 307b Sixth Street in Calumet. Otter River Outfitters on Shelden Avenue in Houghton is the drop-off for the Houghton-Hancock area.