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Students Create Valentine’s Cheer for Hospice Patients

SCRANTON -- Patients in hospice in part of Lackawanna County will be getting special valentines from school kids in Scranton on Tuesday.

The boys and girls spent the day on Monday putting together care packages, hoping to spread some smiles.

While many boys and girls will be making valentines to give to their classmates, the fifth-graders at McNichol's Plaza Elementary School in Scranton had others in mind -- patients in hospice care.

"We're making baskets for people who are ill to spread Valentine's Day cheer," explained fifth-grader Allison Gerrity.

The students are helping Traditional Home Health and Hospice in Dunmore put together care packages of items those in hospice may need.

"I think it's going to mean people appreciate them and feel sorry for them so people wanted to help and volunteer," said fifth-grader Christopher Guevara.

These children may be a bit young to understand what it really means to be in hospice and to know the struggles of those on the receiving end of this effort, but they do know the impact of kindness.

"I know they are very sick, and these baskets will make them very happy," said fifth-grader Aziyah Wright.

"They understand that the patients are very sick and any bit helps. It just puts a smile on their face during a difficult time," said Kathleen Haikes, Traditional Home Health and Hospice.

The students also did some artwork to add to the baskets of joy with simple messages like, "Hope you feel better." And for someone in hospice, a simple smile can help them feel better.

"Especially when you have patients, our hospice patients, they know what they're headed for, bringing the community just to show that they care, it's important for the kids to do it so it's great to see," said Haikes.

All of this ties into Kindness Week at McNichol's Plaza, where students are challenged to complete a list of 50 kind acts.

"It's a great lesson for them because many of our student population are recipients of the kindness of others so we try to pay it forward in that sense, so as they grow and mature, they remember each other," said Principal Colleen Leonard.