Gerontology Society spreads kindness

The initiative was founded by gerontology professor Janet Durkee-Lloyd. (Submitted: Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick)

A group of students at St.Thomas University made packages for people living in seniors homes. The packages contained handwritten notes from students and were titled ‘Little Boxes of Love.’

The STU Gerontology Society placed travel-sized hand sanitizers, a disposable mask, cookies, candy, chocolate, tea and notes in a box before sealing it with a forget-me-not sticker.

The initiative was founded by gerontology professor Janet Durkee-Lloyd, who was scrolling through Facebook in January when she found a BBC video that inspired the project.

“[It] was about a project that took place in England, where they made little boxes with tea, a candle, and some cookies inside … I thought I could do something like that.”

Project members assembled 50 boxes on Sept. 3.

The packages were part of a class project back in March. Students were supposed to assemble and deliver the boxes to nursing homes, allowing them to engage with the staff and resident, but the project was put on hold due to COVID-19.

Students were unable to deliver the packages in person because the nursing homes placed restrictions on who could enter the building.

“There’s so much social isolation going on that, in a way, these boxes are more important than ever,” Durkee-Lloyd said.

According to Durkee-Lloyd, the boxes will have a positive impact on the caregiving community. (Submitted: Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick)

The initiative picked up momentum again in the summer when Durkee-Lloyd reached out to STU gerontology president, Robyn MacCara.

Durkee-Lloyd emailed MacCara asking her if the Gerontology Society would be interested in helping with the ‘Little Boxes of Love’ initiative. MacCara agreed and the project began. 

MacCara decided to bring back the Gerontology Society to STU in July.

 “I just revived it this past summer, and I love that opportunity because it meant that I could kind of make it, what I wanted it to be,” MacCara said.

Durkee-Lloyd and the STU Gerontology Society worked together and began preparations and advertising for the initiative. All their hard work came together on Aug. 24 when they held their first volunteer session to put together the boxes. Around 10 people attended the event.

“It went by so fast to everybody was really passionate and I was really happy about that,” MacCara said.

According to Dr. Durkee-Lloyd, these boxes will have a positive impact on the caregiving community.  

“To get that little box and know that there’s another human out there that is thinking about you and wants to bring a smile to your face, that’s the least we can do.”