CRESTVIEW — A Holt girl got more donations than expected for her annual birthday project of collecting Christmas gifts for nursing home residents.
"We provided gifts to over 200 residents in the area," Angie Holland, mother of Railey Conner, 12, said.
Each gift bag contained toiletries and other items like slippers, blankets, crossword puzzles and activity books. Railey requested donations for nursing home residents in lieu of presents for her Dec. 15 birthday. She did the same last year.
Residents donated enough to provide Christmas gift bags for residents of Carrington Manor and Safe and Secure Respite Care, both in Crestview. Crestview Rehab and Silvercrest Manor residents also received gifts.
In addition to donated items, the project collected more than $600, which Raily’s Birthday Project 2.0 used to purchase more presents, Holland said.
"It was bigger than I expected," Railey said of donors’ efforts.
Railey and her family visited Carrington Manor on Christmas Eve to deliver the gifts during a party.
Ann Henderson, a licensed practical nurse at the facility, said all 25 residents looked forward to the celebration.
"They have been more happy than they have usually been," she said.
Most residents there have Alzheimer's disease or dementia, and with the exception of a few, most residents rarely receive visitors, she said.
"Most people stay within this building 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Henderson said. "We have one patient who thinks he is still in the service and thinks he is in the barracks. He often asks if he can transfer out of here."
That made Railey’s visit even more special, the facility’s staff said.
Joseph Hunter, of Shalimar, who attended the party to be with his wife, Patricia, 73, a Carrington Manor resident, expressed his gratitude for Railey’s efforts.
"She is just a fantastic young lady and I respect her a lot for what she is doing," Hunter said.
He said the gifts will serve Patricia well.
"She will definitely use all of it," Hunter said.
Resident Annie Saturday, 86, also was thankful for the presents.
"I wasn't expecting all of this," Saturday said. "I'm flabbergasted and I appreciate them."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.