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Handmade with love: Local nursing home residents make cards for Texas care facility

Crossroads Care Center Activity Director Anita Miller (center) assists residents Dora Jacobs (left) and Nancy Navara with the cards they were decorating. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)1 / 7
Residents of South Shore and Crossroads care centers gathered Wednesday afternoon to write letters and decorate cards for the residents of Gulf Point Nursing Home in Rockport, Texas. More than 90 residents were moved from the facility before Hurricane Harvey struck the community. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)2 / 7
Thelma Middagh is all smiles as she decorates a card to send to nursing home residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)3 / 7
A message of love is included on the cards to be sent to nursing home residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)4 / 7
Some of the cards crafted by residents of South Shore and Crossroads care centers in Worthington. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)5 / 7
Words of encouragement will be sent to residents of the Gulf Point Nursing Home in Rockport, Texas, after they were displaced by Hurricane Harvey. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)6 / 7
Connie Geertsema applies heart stickers to a card she made to send to residents displaced after Hurricane Harvey pummeled the Gulf Point Nursing Home in Rockport, Texas. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)7 / 7

WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Residents of two Worthington care centers are hoping to bring a little joy to Rockport, Texas nursing home residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

Gathered around tables covered with pencils, crayons, markers and stickers, the Worthington residents decorated handmade cards Wednesday, Sept. 13, and added their own personal messages of love and prayer for residents of Gulf Pointe Plaza in Rockport.

More than 90 residents of the Texas nursing home and assisted living facility were moved from their home just one day before Hurricane Harvey hit. Many of those residents are now staying at facilities in suburban Austin and Dallas until Gulf Pointe can reopen.

In hopes of bringing them some cheer, 18 South Shore Care Center residents gathered in the dining hall to write and decorate cards.

The messages included "Stay Strong Texas" and "God Bless You" and other, more personal notes, and were decorated with butterfly and heart-shaped stickers.

Susan Wellendorf, activities director at South Shore Care Center, connected with the Rockport facility after calling a Houston nursing home she'd found online.

After inquiring about nursing homes impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Wellendorf was directed to Leticia Caballero, director of government relations for HMG Healthcare.

"Because we're so small, we wanted to pick just one (care facility) — to have an impact on one," Wellendorf said.

"And, we wanted to know where (our donations) were going," added Anita Miller, activities director at Crossroads Care Center.

In addition to sending the handmade cards, both Worthington centers are collecting funds through Sept. 22 to help Gulf Pointe Plaza residents once they return home.

Caballero said damage to the Rockport facility is still being assessed after flooding. They hope to have the facility cleaned, repaired and ready for residents to move back in by early December.

"We have had such an outpouring of support," Caballero said. "Having the residents displaced is a difficult thing."

Staff from the facility have also been relocated to other communities where Gulf Pointe residents were taken.

"A lot of folks left their home and came up north," Caballero said. "We've worked to get them temporary housing, and staggered staffing because they're dealing with serious issues (with their own property)."

Caballero said hearing from Wellington about the Worthington effort to offer comfort and help was unexpected and appreciated.

"It was so heartfelt and so warming," she said. "I feel everyone wants to help out.

"It will brighten everyone's day to read (the cards) and just know there are people all around the U.S. thinking of them."

Scott Kessler, the new administrator for South Shore and Crossroads, said he hopes the local facilities will forge a friendship with Gulf Pointe Plaza as a result of the project.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

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