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Unlikely friendship blossoms during the pandemic

Posted at 8:12 AM, Apr 29, 2021

Looking back on the year 2020, it wasn't easy meeting new people and making new friends, but that wasn't the case for everyone. With the help of Wilshire Health and Community Services, what started as weekly conversations between two strangers has blossomed into a special friendship.

Through Wilshire's Caring Callers program, home-bound, older adults are connected with community volunteers, which is how 37-year-old Cierra Savatgy- King was connected with 97-year-old Bonnie Miller.

These two women have been talking mostly on the phone every week since the start of the pandemic.

"A friend reached out to me and connected me with the organization that set this up," Savatgy-King said.

60 years separate them, but they're bridging the gap by the stories they share.

"We talk a lot about history, that's what I'm always asking about because I find it so fascinating because she's lived a long time and has a lot to share about what life was like," Savatgy-King said.

From the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma to other historical pandemics, Miller has a lot of stories to share.

"When I was a little girl in our little hometown in Oklahoma, smallpox broke out, and we were quarantined," Miller said.

The conversation can be light and fun.

"Most of the time I'm doing all the talking," Miller said as she laughed. "Not really."

However, this friendship that has been developing over the past year is more than just a weekly phone call or visit.

"Getting be able to speak with Bonnie every week at the same time knowing that she's going to be there and have someone celebrate the wins that I have in my life too has been really special," Savatgy-King said.

Plus, it's giving them both something they've never had.

"Being able to connect with grandparents and speak with them frequently wasn't ever something I had in my life," Savatgy-King said.

"She's like a granddaughter," Miller said. "Of course I never had a granddaughter, we just get along really good."

For details on how you can get involved in the Caring Callers program, click here, or email kgrasso@wilshirehcs.org.