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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

North Star project creates over 130 care baskets for local nursing homes

- EDHS Leadership students donate $300 to the project -

by Sylene Argent & photos submitted by the Brett family.

When local Beaver, Jameson Brett, started his community project to earn his North Star Badge, he had a goal to make as many care baskets for residents in local nursing homes as he could.

  He wanted to create care baskets for local residents in long-term care, because he misses his great-grandmother, and thought she, and other residents, could use a pick-me-up during a time when visitation has been limited, due to the pandemic. His great-grandmother lives at Royal Oak in Kingsville, and the last time Brett saw her in person was at Christmas in 2019. Though he has been able to pay window visits and talk to her over the phone, it is just not the same as getting to see her in person and enjoy a hug.

  Initially, he figured he would be able to create around 40 baskets, which would have been split between Iler Lodge in Essex Centre and Royal Oak. Thanks to overwhelming support from the community, however, he and his family have been able to create nearly 130 baskets, and more are still being made.

  On Saturday, Brett and his supportive family members dropped off eight baskets for the residents at Essex Manor, and another 60 baskets to Iler Lodge.

  In addition, staff gift baskets and flower arrangements were also delivered to each home, as a way to thank frontline workers.

  Brett has another 60 baskets ready to go to Royal Oak, which will be delivered next weekend.

  “I feel excited,” Brett said of the project, “because it started off with just 11 baskets and it turned into 128 baskets, plus the three staff baskets. And, we still can do more baskets.”

  He added he was, “Very surprised that we got as much stuff and money as we did. People realized that they might have people in the nursing homes that they can’t see and they could send them a basket.”

  In addition, a generous $300 donation from the EDHS Leadership Class will allow Brett to make another 15-20 baskets.

  Lindsay Drozdz, EDHS Leadership Class Teacher, said her students were excited to get behind Brett’s project. “They loved the idea of supporting a future Raider, who will likely be a leadership student himself several years down the road. Many of our students have grandparents and relatives at Iler Lodge, so the leaders wanted to help [Brett] reach all the residents and make such a big difference to our most vulnerable community members.”

  Asking for money is hard this year, Drozdz added, and her class only had four days to host a collection, one of which ended up being a snow day, “But the students and staff at EDHS came through and our ‘spare change drive’ raised just over $300. The leadership students are super impressed and inspired by [Brett’s] initiative at such a young age, and congratulate him on his success on this project.”

  His mom, Amy, said undertaking the care basket project with her son was a great experience. “It was so much work, but so worth it,” she said. “We are so incredibly grateful to the community for all of the support.”

  Amy added she and her family hope her son’s project encourages others to do what they can to help the less fortunate and isolated populations.

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