Hita Gupta, a 15-year-old sophomore from Berwyn, Pennsylvania, knows how a giving heart and spirit can be some of the best medicine in the world.
During her freshman year, she created Brighten A Day, a nonprofit organization initially designed to lift spirits by sending Valentine’s Day cards to children in hospitals. That one small gesture grew into a movement when she expanded her efforts to connect with senior citizens in retirement homes and children in orphanages. Since those humble beginnings, Gupta’s programs have expanded to six states surrounding Pennsylvania!
Gupta also volunteers at a nursing home, so its residents were very much on her mind once the coronavirus pandemic started affecting her area. The teenager knew the social and mental health needs of the elderly might not be met when they were isolated, especially once her volunteering hours were cut because of the virus — so she decided to help them.
She announced the initiative on the Brighten A Day Facebook page.
The new focus of the Brighten A Day campaign is to help these special people feel loved and remembered. As she notes in the post, she is sending seniors each a pack that contains a puzzle book, a coloring book, a pack of colored pencils and a handwritten note.
The campaign started with Gupta funding the first few packs herself, but she has now set up a GoFundMe page and has raised more than $1,500 for her project.
Since its start, Gupta has delivered hundreds of packs to at least a dozen nursing homes in the Chester County area, according to the GoFundMe page.
As you can see, Gupta even enlisted her 9-year-old brother, Divit, to help put the care packages together.
“A few weeks ago I learned that I couldn’t go there anymore because they weren’t allowing any visitors, they were also canceling a lot of the activities that were going on in the building because they were trying to limit the interaction between seniors,” she told local network ABC-6. “During this uncertain time, which is causing panic for many seniors, it’s our responsibility to let them know that they are not being forgotten.”
She documented the progress of the new Brighten A Day campaign through images in a Facebook gallery.
The seniors who receive these gift packs are full of smiles, as can be seen on social media posts from various nursing and retirement homes where Gupta has dropped off her packages. Here, residents in one such community show them off.
“The residents at The Devon Senior Living are extremely grateful and it makes social distancing a just little easier,” the post reads.
Gupta is looking for volunteers who are willing to make or send cards to nursing home residents. All you need to do is fill out a quick, online form to get more information on how you can help. Anyone who is interested in donating money to help continue these gift packs can visit the Brighten A Day GoFundMe page for more information or donate through PayPal.
What a great project for lifting the spirits of those at risk!