Small gestures net big thanks

By on March 19, 2020
Westwood Commons resident Louise Tantalo accepts a blanket from Alaina Moldanado.

Westwood Commons resident Louise Tantalo accepts a blanket from Alaina Moldanado.

A random act of kindness came full circle recently. Over the holidays, residents at Westwood Commons, a DePaul Senior Living Community in North Chili, were the recipients of nearly 100 blankets donated by students at Fairbanks Road Elementary School in the Churchville-Chili School District. In return, residents at Westwood Commons hand-delivered a large Valentine’s Day card to the school in February. 

For the past ten years, Fairbanks Elementary School has donated blankets, along with a book, to students in the City of Rochester. This year, they decided to gift the blankets to area senior citizens.   

The entire school participated in a “Caring Coins” campaign where students donated coins for weeks. Second-graders collected the money, which was used to purchase fleece for the blankets. Staff volunteers cut the fabric into blanket-sized pieces, third-graders made the blankets, and the fourth-graders wrapped them in ribbons and delivered them. 

Fairbanks Elementary School teacher Jean Long said the outreach program is aimed at creating a sense of community and charity among students. She said the students enjoyed engaging with the seniors and listening to their stories, and the Valentine’s Day thank you card from the residents to the students was very touching.

“The residents love the blankets so much,” said Activities Director Cathy Toney. “Everyone has been using them faithfully, on the end of their bed for extra warmth, as a lap blanket while sitting in their chairs watching television, or as a shawl on the back of their wheelchair.”

Provided information and photos

Fairbanks Elementary School students pore over the giant Valentine's Day thank you card from Westwood Commons along with resident Mary Ann Comstock.

Accepting the thank you card are: (front row, l-r) teacher Jennifer Ritchie, Austin DeVries, Julie Adams, Ava Bianchi, AJ Ippolito, Daniela Morales-Negron, Liam O’Brien, Westwood Commons resident Mary Ann Comstock; (back row, l-r) resident Gerald Yazback, Romeo Lancaster, Carol Cambell, Stella Anderson, Ella Klotch, and Principal Todd Yunker.

Fairbanks Elementary School students pore over the giant Valentine's Day thank you card from Westwood Commons along with resident Mary Ann Comstock.

Fairbanks Elementary School students pore over the giant Valentine’s Day thank you card from Westwood Commons along with resident Mary Ann Comstock.

Tina L'abate unfolds the blanket she received from Fairbanks Road Elementary School student Liliana Negron.

Tina L’abate unfolds the blanket she received from Fairbanks Road Elementary School student Liliana Negron.