Easter is quickly approaching. Yet, there are many veterans in nursing homes who may not receive a visit from family or friends, much less any Easter-related items.
Here’s where the American Legion Auxiliary comes into the picture. Through the spirit of Service Not Self, you and your ALA unit can help turn a veteran’s Easter into a fun, memorable holiday.
After you come up with your idea for a holiday-themed event, treats, or little gifts for the veterans (keep reading for some inspiration), contact your local nursing home as far in advance as possible. The celebration can occur anytime around Easter – it doesn’t have to be on the actual holiday. Ask if your unit can visit and spend time with the veterans to celebrate the occasion. Tell the contact person at the facility exactly what you are planning.
If the nursing home’s management allows you to proceed, the contact person will let you know what kind of items are and aren’t acceptable to share with the veterans. Remember that not everybody can have candy or chocolate, and some stuffed animals may be made of fabrics that trigger allergies or other problems.
Be sure to ask how many veterans can participate in the event so you can include all of them in whatever activity you decide to do.
Here are a handful of ways to celebrate Easter with veterans:
– Assemble goodie bags to drop off at the nursing home.
– Bake cookies and cut them into holiday-themed shapes, such as eggs and bunnies.
– Organize an Easter egg hunt at the nursing home for community children – the veterans would enjoy watching little ones hunt for eggs. Perhaps some of the younger ALA Juniors can partake in the hunt, enjoying themselves while bringing a bit of cheer to veterans.
– Have members sign handmade or store-bought Easter cards to drop off for the veterans.
– Help veterans fill Easter baskets with candy and/or small toys to give to community children in need.
– Give out bunny ears for residents who want wear to them, and wear them yourself during your visit.
– Play Easter-related themed games (bingo, trivia, word search, etc.) with the veterans.
– Have ALA Juniors visit with the veterans and help with craft activities.
– Host an ice cream social.
Find your way to let veterans know the ALA cares about them. Whatever you do doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Any small, kind gesture that shows our love for veterans would mean a lot to them!
Do you have additional ideas on how to celebrate the holiday with our veterans in nursing homes? Share in the comments!