Coaler senior bringing the joy of the holidays to nursing home residents

Ann Gill

     A simple pair of socks inspired Makenna Crater to take up a holiday collection to ensure every resident at a local nursing home has a gift to open on Christmas Day.
    For the past five months Crater has been working as a CNA at Heritage Health in Dwight. That is where she will be spending her Christmas Day.
    So when her mom, Tamme, handed her the socks and encouraged her to give them to her favorite resident she couldn’t think of just one person.
    “I like everyone there,” Crater said, and it was at that moment she knew she wanted to do something for all of the special people she’s come to know at her work home.
    “Everyone should have something to open on Christmas Day,” she said.
    Before proceeding with the plan, she passed the idea by her supervisors who thought it was a wonderful idea.
    Although the number of residents at Heritage Health fluctuates day-to-day, Crater is planning to provide gifts to about 70 people, a mix of men and women.
    “I don’t want to leave anyone out, everyone will get something,” she said.
    To help her meet her goal, Tamme Crater took to social media to share her daughter’s plan with family and friends and many stepped up to offer assistance.
    Knowing she has a lot of work ahead, Crater is accepting assistance from the community as well. Donations will be accepted through Monday, Dec. 17. The Coal City Courant office, 271 S. Broadway, will serve as the local drop off location.
    Suggested gift items are lap blankets, pajamas/night gowns, robes, slippers, board games, playing cards, large print books and puzzle books, adult coloring books, reading lamps, magnifying glasses, teddy bears/stuffed animals and socks—the kind with the grips on the bottom.
    Donations should be new, unused items, and not be wrapped.
    Items strictly prohibited include any type of food, candy, scented soaps and lotions, perfumes, candles and liquor.
    With some help from her mom, Crater will organize the donations and prepare the items for distribution on Christmas Day.
    “I love doing things for them (the residents), they are so appreciative,” said Crater, a busy high school senior who’s enrolled in the Grundy Area Vocational Center’s Health Occupations course.
    She earned her CNA license through her studies at GAVC, and after graduation in May 2019 she plans to pursue a degree in nursing.
    In addition to her high school studies and working part-time, Crater is involved in a number of school activities. She is a three-sport athlete—volleyball, basketball and softball, she’s a member of the Drama Club, participates in Madrigals, has a part in the school musical and serves as vice president of Coalers with Character.
    Crater is looking forward to her Christmas Day shift, spending time with her work family and spreading a bit of holiday cheer by playing Santa for the residents.
    Will she dress up like the jolly old elf?
    “I don’t think so, but I  might get a Christmas scrub top to wear,” she said with a chuckle.