The Washington Times-Herald

November 7, 2013

Angels 'Worxing' for others

BY Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — Five years ago AngelWorx, a program that is part of Generations services for older adults in Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Knox, Martin, and Pike counties, started its Build-A-Basket project. The project helps provide some of the basic needs of clients in the Generations program, as well as provide some holiday cheer. The filled baskets are provided by individuals, schools, churches and other organizations. Last year, over 700 baskets were turned in and delivered to individuals in need.

“The items we suggest to be put in the baskets are simple and inexpensive every day items,” said Kim Fields, Daviess and Martin County AngelWorx Coordinator. “Many of the items can be purchased for a dollar or two.”

Fields said she has seen the necessities arranged in everything from laundry baskets and plastic totes to wastebaskets, hampers and decorated cardboard boxes.

“Many of the baskets have a creative touch with cards and crafts in them and are festively decorated,” said Fields who enjoys delivering and creating the special baskets. “The people who make up the baskets are usually so excited about doing this project,” Fields said.

While the project is rewarding for both those who put baskets together and those who receive the baskets, Fields believes the most rewarding part of the experience has been delivering the baskets.

“Personally delivering the baskets to the elderly and disabled in our community has been the most rewarding. One would never suspect how much joy it brings someone,” said Fields.

In the past some of the recipients of the baskets have been overcome with emotion.

“I was delivering a basket for a teacher and her classroom who volunteered for him through AngelWorx,” said Fields. “I was supposed to try to get a picture of him with the basket to take back to the class but I didn’t. The man was so overcome that he cried. He told me no one had ever done anything like that for him before and he couldn’t believe the kids had it for him. ‘It (the basket) is the only gift I will receive,’ he told me,” said Fields who ended up with mascara in eyes from crying after hearing the man’s story.

Fields believes another basket she was sent to deliver was by divine intervention. This particular basket had a woman’s name on it with a phone number.

“I called the number and a man said he would be home and I could come by,” said Fields. “When I got there, he told me the woman’s name was that of his wife and he had just buried her earlier that day or the day before. He told me he thought his wife’s hospice nurse had asked if there were enough baskets, if one could go to them.”

Later, Fields said the office received a thank you for the basket the man had received.

“The Build A Basket program is wonderful and continues to grow each year,” said Judy Bullock of Senior and Family Services in Washington, one of the drop off points for the baskets. “Last year, I remember grandparents bringing in baskets that their grandchildren had shopped for. They were decorated and they had made Christmas cards. What a wonderful way to teach our young to be generous.”

Each basket, which must be completed by Dec. 16, will be delivered to the clients by Meals on Wheels drivers and other volunteers. Baskets can be dropped off as early as Nov. 18 to the drop off points. In addition to the Washington drop off, the Loogootee Senior Center, Petersburg Amber Manor, Petersburg Golden Living, Shoals Senior Center and Vincennes Generations office are also drop off locations.

Some other suggested items for the baskets include paper towel, denture cream, dryer sheets, calendars, night lights, shower brushes, writing paper and pens, bath towels, tooth brushes and toothpaste, shampoo, bath soap, deodorant, laundry detergent, trash bags, sponges and hand sanitizer.

“We prefer that baskets be registered so we can have a close count on how many baskets to prepare to deliver,” said Alma Kramer, Generations program coordinator for healthy aging.

“But we are so grateful for any and all of the baskets that we get.”

Those interested in building a basket or wanting additional information should contact Kramer by email, akramer@vinu.edu or by calling 812-888-4527.