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'This way they'll know we love them'

Hoping to amass a huge pile of Valentine’s cards to spread a little love to lonely seniors, a small group of Cub Scouts are putting a call out for local residents to take time to pen a letter or note of love and support.

If those notes happen to include tiny red hearts, matching lollipops or printouts of beloved cartoon characters and funny pictures, then so be it.

Six-year-old Rowan Wolf, with a little help from his mom, Jessy Hummel, are collecting Valentine’s to share with seniors next month. The pint-sized boy is hoping to collect bags and boxes of cards — whether homemade, store bought or otherwise — for the residents of Laurel Pines Retirement Lodge in White City.

If he gets more cards than he can handle, he’ll take overflows to another facility.

A trio of nursing and assisted living facilities in Medford are asking for cards, too.

Sitting at Berns Park in White City one afternoon this week, Rowan and a handful of friends enjoyed some needed sunshine and stuffed bright colored cards into tiny envelopes.

Hummel, who is her son’s pack leader, said her son has spent much of his free time getting “as many cards as he can” ready to surprise the seniors. Rowan’s scout group, Pack 103, usually visits the facility for Christmas, where they sing songs, decorate cookies and spend time chatting with the residents. Due to COVID restrictions, the scouts were unable to make their holiday visit this winter.

“Our boys have been volunteering and decorating the Christmas tree at this facility for years now because the troop, when it started, donated a tree way back when. Our scouts always go and we decorate their Christmas tree and hand out cookies and hang out with all the seniors,” Hummel said.

“With COVID, we couldn’t go in and see them. We didn’t want to put them at any risk. But we know how much they love the kids, and that a lot of those seniors don’t have families who check on them, much less a little pack of grandkid-aged-children running amok,” she said.

“With the quarantine still in place, we thought we could at least get a bunch of cards together to drop them off and give them a little smile and let them know we were still thinking about them.” Rowan figures collecting “a bunch of cards” is the least he can do for his friends.

“We’re doing all these cards, because we’re going to cheer up the old people so they don’t feel alone or miss us too bad,” said the boy.

“Me and my mom are getting a bunch of cards and putting the lollipops and hearts in them. We have a lot of cards so far. We have little Scooby Doo cards, Avengers ones, Paw Patrols, Elsa.”

Stacey St. Arnold, administrator of the facility, said the effort by the scout group brought smiles to the residents.

“Laurel Pines Retirement Lodge appreciates the loving gesture from our community to make our holidays special for all of us,” she said.

“We do not all have family to help us celebrate holidays, so this is extremely special for us all.”

For one 6-year-old, it’s no trouble at all.

“The reason we make the valentines is to be nice,” he said. “We’re supposed to do nice things for people and make sure they feel special. We are doing a bunch of cards since we can’t see them. This way they’ll know we love them until we can go see them again.”

To send cards to Laurel Pines, contact Rowan Wolf and mom, Jessy Hummel, on the troop’s Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/CubScouts103. Rowan and fellow scouts will collect and distribute the cards to Laurel Pines, and possibly a second facility for seniors, in White City. Cards for the troop project are due by Feb. 1.

In Medford, three facilities will accept valentines and small treats for seniors. Items must be mailed or delivered by Feb. 8:

  • Avamere Three Fountains, Attention: Nicole Macias, 835 Crater Lake Ave., Medford, 97501
  • Hearthstone Assisted Living, Attention: Cailey Pollock, 2901 E. Barnett Road, Medford, 97504

Brookdale Senior Living, Attention: Sheri Bowers, 3033 E. Barnett Road, Medford, 97504

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneBoy Scout leader Roger Hansen and Jessy Hummel help cub scouts Kaed Skinner and Rowen Wolf create Valentines for seniors at Bern’s Park in White City.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneBoy Scout leader Roger Hansen and Jessy Hummel help cub scouts Kaed Skinner and Rowen Wolf create Valentines for seniors at Bern’s Park in White City.