Students spread Christmas cheer to the elderly

By Katie Herrera

BESSEMER, AL (WBRC) - Students from West Hills Elementary School in Bessemer loaded onto buses Tuesday morning, loudly singing Christmas carols. They were headed to Golden Living Center at Meadowwood, hoping to spread Christmas joy to the elderly.
                
This was the seventh year students from West Hills "adopted" the nursing home. They collected socks, magazines, peppermints and toiletries – anything the seniors might need throughout the year. The students bagged them and packed them into decorative boxes.

On Tuesday, a group of 60 fifth graders handed out the goodies to all of the residents, while caroling with cheer.

"It just feels good that they know that somebody loves them and cares about them," said Valante Turner.
                
"They love it! There's nothing like it and they look forward to it," said Debra Pack, Activities Coordinator for Golden Living Center. "When we say the kids are coming, they get ready to come down, because they really enjoy the kids. They really do."
                
The kids went floor-to-floor, spending time with the seniors. Some students even read Christmas books to them.
                
"When I read to them, it's like when I read at home to my granddaddy. It just makes me feel happy," explained Kimoria Robinson.

 "I'm having fun making people happy and letting people see what Christmas is really about," said Kayla Seay.

There was a Christmas spirit throughout the building that was as beneficial to students as it was to the seniors.
                
"The elderly people are the wise. And the kids know it, and they listen to them. So we call them our 'adopted grandparents,' because they are so very smart. And they have words of wisdom for our students," explained West Hills Elementary Counselor Valerie Simmons.
                
Carolers from HealthSpring Insurance also joined the students this year. They sang and gave out blankets to the residents.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.