MARTINSBURG — Unable to ignore the isolation and depression faced by local seniors, an Eastern Panhandle business owner has brought a national Adopt-A-Grandparent campaign to Berkeley County, with hopes of providing 70 seniors with a “balloon buddy” for Valentine’s Day.
Rachel Manor, owner of E.M. Events, said with the “craziness” of the past year as the world has worked to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the most vulnerable population — seniors — have spent a large portion of their time isolated and alone, a fact Manor said “broke her heart.”
According to Manor, she first heard of the #AdoptAGrandparent campaign — an event which provides seniors with balloon figures as a show of love in a safe, distanced way — from a balloon creation Facebook group which shared the idea from its original creators, balloon-industry professionals Liz Romani and Rachel King.
“When I heard about the campaign, I knew that it was something that I wanted to take part in,” Manor said. “ Liz and Rachel were sharing how they had gotten the campaign started in their community and how amazing the response had been, and it really touched me. I know how isolated the seniors have been, especially with the pandemic, and I knew I wanted to give this a try in our area and see if we could make a difference in our neck of the woods.”
After reaching out to Harmony at Martinsburg, a local senior living facility, Manor said she was thrilled to see the staff’s excitement for the project and was provided with information on the number of seniors at the facility that Manor said she believes could definitely use some extra love this Valentine’s Day.
“I can’t wait to deliver these and brighten someone’s day,” Manor said.
According to Manor, there are about 70 residents at Harmony, and she hopes to have all 70 residents sponsored in the coming days, so the “balloon buddies” can be delivered the week of Valentine’s Day, and no one is left out.
Currently, Manor said a little less than half of the harmony residents have been sponsored but said she is still hopeful for full sponsorships, as the campaign has only just begun.
Manor said she will be designing and constructing the “balloon buddies” herself and is hopeful she will be able to host another campaign soon to share the love with another area senior living facility until each has had its own #AdoptAGrandparent campaign.
“It’s not everyday you know what you do creates a smile, but this is one of those projects that I know when we do this, it will bring some big smiles and sunshine to these people… what more could you want?”
According to Manor, sponsorship begins at $20 for one buddy, $50 for three and $100 for seven.
To sponsor a balloon buddy for a Harmony resident as part of the Adopt-A- Grandparent campaign, visit emeventballoons.com or call (304) 279–5865.