Kids bring valentines to Shelby Ridge

Long-term Shelby Ridge residents, front row from left, Frank Amerson and William Ramsey enjoy items donated to them by Meadow View Elementary School students as, back row from left, Jeanine Shaw, Gail Casey, Judy Brown and Timmie Murphy look on. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Students at Meadow View Elementary School recently brought smiles to the faces of about 150 residents at Alabaster’s Shelby Ridge nursing home while helping them celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Through the school’s Bags of Kindness program, students at MVES in late January began collecting items such as small stuffed animals, hand lotion and other toiletry items to place in bags to donate to Shelby Ridge residents.

After the students and parents gathered enough donations to stuff more than 180 bags, a group of students then delivered the bags to the nursing home in early February.

“Our goal was to produce at least 100 gift bags,” said MVES Assistant Principal Rachea Simms. “We definitely exceeded that.”

Simms said the school focuses on one large community service project each year, and chose to help Shelby Ridge after they were approached by Gail Casey, a Shelby Ridge volunteer and former Valley Elementary School teacher.

After the kids collected the items, Casey and MVES officials stuffed the bags before delivering them to the nursing home. Shelby Ridge staff members then handed them out to residents at the nursing home.

“You should have seen the smiles on the residents’ faces when they started pulling things out of the bags,” said Shelby Ridge Activities Director Timmie Murphy. “We even had a few residents cry.”

Murphy said the bags brought a bit of Valentine’s Day cheer to residents and let them know the MVES students were thinking of them.

“It was so wonderful. Gail did such an excellent job,” Murphy said. “She put a lot in those bags.”