On Saturday, April 20, Mint Hill residents celebrated Easter with the residents of Mint Hill Senior Living.
The Easter Celebration was spearheaded by Bonnie Hovey and Angela Prince. It’s one of several holiday-themed celebration the pair plans for the assisted living and memory care center with support from various organizations and individuals in the community.
The tradition started in the Fall of 2017 when Prince saw a video posted by Mint Hill Senior Living of a resident playing the piano. A pianist herself, Prince was moved by the woman’s beautiful playing but jarred by the horribly out of tune piano. She and another Mint Hill resident worked together to make sure the piano was fixed and properly tuned.
As she got to know the people residing at Mint Hill Senior Living, Prince and Hovey had the idea to do something for them for Christmas. The first Christmas Celebration in December of 2017 consisted mainly of collecting gifts for the residents, but afterward, Hovey, for whom helping bring joy to these seniors’ lives has become somewhat of a personal calling, was hooked.
In the past year, Hovey and Prince have organized Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day celebrations for the almost seventy residents of Mint Hill Senior Living. At Halloween, a group of Mint Hill’s homeschooled children visited with residents and trick or treated in the community room. “They’re still talking about that Halloween because those kids were just precious!” says Prince.
The same homeschool group has stayed active at Mint Hill Senior Living, singing carols at last year’s Christmas celebration and attending Saturday’s Easter celebration as well. At Valentine’s Day, Hovey headed an effort to make treat bags for all of the residents. “She did that all on her own for Valentine’s Day so they would know they were loved by the community,” says Prince.
Prince and Hovey’s ultimate goal is just that: showing Mint Hill Senior Living’s residents that they are still a vital part of our community. Of course, staying active and involved is important for all of us as we age. “We just help the activity directors there to create more things that are special for them and let them know the community cares about them.”
For Prince, it’s all about forging a relationship between the residents of Mint Hill Senior Living and the larger Mint Hill community. “Because we’ve brought attention to this program, a lot of people are going over there and spending time just doing puzzles with the seniors,” says Prince. “It’s about the seniors and people knowing that they are just as important in our community as anyone else.”
Hovey and Prince’s support of Mint Hill Senior Living is a true community effort fueled in large part by Prince’s community Facebook group, “What’s Up Mint Hill? The Original Group.” A few weeks prior to the Easter party, the two women had collected 31 completed baskets – about half the number they needed for all the residents. Prince put the word out via Facebook that they were seeking donations, and within two days, they had everything they needed to provide for all the seniors.
“It’s just been amazing the response that we get from everybody who wants to do things, and it’s not just this program,” says Prince. “We have so many things in Mint Hill that depend upon volunteers – church groups, Mint Hill Athletic Association, just helping people in need. That’s why we can do a program like this.”
It was the generous donations of both individuals and businesses in the community that made Saturday’s celebration possible. Monroe Hardware donated candy and trinkets for the Easter baskets. Cub Scout Pack 144 donated a Food Lion gift certificate to help with food purchases. Travis Reynolds donated his chickens’ blue eggs. These are just a few of the many donations that helped make Easter weekend special for all the residents.
Hovey and Prince look forward to planning more events that get the community involved with the seniors at Mint Hill Living. Their next official holiday is Halloween, though Hovey may have something in mind for July 4. They’re also hoping to make some changes to this year’s Christmas party, perhaps holding it on a Saturday so more people and perhaps even the residents’ families can attend. “It’s not about us,” concludes Prince. “It’s about the community coming together, and we’re glad to give them that opportunity.”