The Holiday Project seeks to bring a little joy to residents of nursing homes and similar facilities throughout the Washington, D.C., metro region.
Old Town Alexandria resident Robin Wiley joined the project as a way to show love and respect for her father who lived in an assisted facility in California. “I couldn’t always be with him on the holidays and this was one way to connect,” said Wiley, president of the Holiday Project for the National Capital Area. He passed away recently, and now Wiley is even more committed to spreading good cheer.
More than half of nursing home residents do not receive any visitors and more than two-thirds have no living relatives, which is why the all-volunteer Holiday Project seeks to step in.
The Holiday Project organizes volunteers in teams who select facilities and then go door-to-door wishing residents happy holidays. Volunteers range from children to adults and pets are often welcome, depending on the facility visited.
“Some people bring cards and calendars to hand out or plants to decorate rooms,” Wiley said. “But often they need more practical items such as socks, tissues and toothbrushes.”
She said volunteers are looking to give back to their community and help show that “you can do more for someone who may just have take out Chinese food on Thanksgiving.”
The group does visits throughout the year on many different holidays but rallies about 600 people in the D.C. area for visits to nursing homes, bringing good will to about 5,000 patients each end-of-the-year holiday season.
“I think Dr. Seuss said it best: Christmas doesn’t come from the store. Christmas is just a little bit more,” said Wiley.