A woman from Buxton, North Dakota is making care packages for seniors just in time for the holidays.
A few years ago, Gitta Goeser was working in her hair salon when a customer came in and told her she had collected 900 pajama sets for needy children.
"She made 900 people smile, and that's just one person," Goeser told the Grand Forks Herald. "I thought 'Oh, my gosh, I want to make people smile.' So, I wondered what can I do. I came home and prayed about it, and bama-lama, it took off."
Goeser created the the HOPE project - an acronym for "Helping Our Precious Elderly" - to aid the elderly veterans in her community.
The project is in its third year, and aims to collect useful items including flashlights, lip balm, slippers, stamps, and tissues.
While Goeser collects supplies throughout the year, the real work begins in October and November. At least ten items go into each parcel, with some bags including special requests such as a sweatshirt or a pair of pajamas. The bags don't pack themselves, but Goeser doesn't mind.
"It's a little blessing in a bag. That's all it is, a little smile and some hope," Goeser said.
"People in the nursing homes at least have the necessities, but there are still some people out there who have to choose between medicine and food," she said. "My heart just breaks because I want to help people with everything they need. I want to do more. I sometimes just need to realize that's not what I'm here for ... God's got the big picture."
When someone donates an item, their name is put into a monthly draw where they have a chance to win a small prize, such as a $10 gift card, as a thank you for their contribution.
The Hope project has become a success in Goeser's community, as she said her initiative has doubled its supply since it first began.