Bay View Woman’s Council is partnering with the Friendship Center of Harbor Springs to bring their frequent attendees “Pouches of Love” for September through May.
The idea began with Marcia-Anne Dunbar. She saw Jill Petro was setting up a penpal program with the Friendship Center of Harbor Springs attendees and Bay View residents, starting with the woman’s council members.
This resulted in matching about 12 Friendship Center residents with pen-pals.
The Friendship Center is housed within Hillside in Harbor Springs and is 49 subsidized senior housing units within walking distance of downtown Harbor Springs.
Hillside is owned by Presbyterian Villages of Michigan and follows their guidelines, including their COVID-19 protocol, which closed the center very possibly through the winter/early spring of 2021.
Attendees are missing the camaraderie and activities that the Friendship Center offered. The board is finding new ways to deliver music, exercise, arts and crafts, special lunches, seasonal parties and more to this group.
The “Pouches of Love” project gained traction as Dunbar proposed giving good sized zippered pouches to the Hillside residents, and 11 additional people who are alone and not venturing out.
The group now has 66 pouches, with the first distribution slated for the first week of September. The plan is to fill the resident’s pouch either every month or every other month with approximately 10 items.
Friendship Center coordinator Jennifer Sutkay has supplied the group with a list of “wants, needs” for these 66 recipients.
They range from stamps and note cards to night lights, socks with grips on the bottom, magazine subscriptions, arts and crafts projects, CDs, and small food items like pretzels, coffee, cocoa, tea, etc.
Cheryl Tallman (Roger) of Fresh Baby of Petoskey — a growing nutrition education products business — contacted the group and donated 66 activity books with gel pens.
Dunbar has raised some money to fill part of the pouches and she is finding the first 10 items right now. The second item for the pouch is “Our Daily Bread”, Dunbar has 66.
Dunbar has set up a box on the desk in the Bay View Post Office for notes of encouragement, pen and paper provided. The group is also collecting books and magazines, puzzles and more. Dunbar and Petro will be collecting the items getting ready for the first filling of the pouches for September.
Future pouch ideas include refrigerator magnets, notes, pictures from children, new books, more CDs, calendars, more stamps, Christmas cards to send, arts and crafts projects for each month and exercise videos.
If you would like to donate items or funds, or have ideas for the pouches, please contact Dunbar, (603) 369-2446, firstname.lastname@example.org from early September-mid October, 1453 Westbrook Drive, Marysville OH 43040; or Petro, (231) 838-3549, email@example.com in Bay View until mid October, Petoskey October-May, 1331 Atkins Road, Petoskey MI 49770.