A Pandemic Story: Making a Difference at Covenant Woods One Packet of Tissues at a Time

Oct 15, 2021 | Trail Talk

Covenant Woods guild logo

by Jean Wright, Vice President of The Guild

Question: What do packets of tissues, 55 bottles of nail polish, 40 pairs of scissors, and bars of Dove soap have in common?
Answer: During a pandemic, they meant everything to the residents of Manor East!
These are just a fraction of the items the Guild of Covenant Woods lovingly donated, mostly at the members personal expense, to the residents of Manor East since the start of the pandemic quarantine in March of 2020.

The Guild did not let even a pandemic stop its 138-year history of enhancing the happiness, comfort, and welfare of residents first at the Richmond Home for Ladies and since 2001 at Covenant Woods in Manor East. These ladies are unstoppable. Where there is a will, they find a way! For an organization used to in-person volunteering activities such as visiting Special Friends, doing crafts with the residents, sponsoring bingo, and throwing special events parties, the pandemic proved frustrating, to say the least.
However, when the call came from staff that the okay had been given for the staff to paint the nails of the ladies quarantined in their rooms, the Guild provided the nail polish… 55 bottles so that each lady had her own bottle to avoid spread of the virus. Crafts could no longer be done in groups, so the Guild provided 40 pairs of scissors so they could be done individually in their rooms during isolation.
Working with the staff, the Guild creatively found ways to enhance the residents’ lives, especially during a time when even family and friends of the residents were not allowed to visit. Boxes of books, magazines, puzzles and, craft kits were delivered along with flowers and cards on Mother’s Day and gift bags on Father’s Day.
In September of 2020 as a “new normal” emerged and it was apparent the Guild was still not going to be able to volunteer in-person in Manor East for some time, a new tradition began. Well, if you can’t go to the mountain, find a way to bring the mountain even closer!Gift bags on table

And so began the stuffing of monthly treat bags… 85+ bags a month filled with treats and trinkets… and packets of tissues… all items for the most part donated by the members. Even before vaccines were readily available, the ladies masked up and socially distanced in a church hall or on the backyard deck of a Guild member to stuff bags that were then delivered to the recreation staff at Covenant Woods.
When the ladies couldn’t use the traditional Guild Christmas stockings due to covid restrictions, they didn’t miss a beat, stuffing donated goodies, including more packets of tissues as well as Dove soap, into Christmas gift bags for all of the Manor East residents.
Moreover, the Guild even stuffed over 150 Valentine bags with sweet treats for the Manor East staff to thank them for all they do for the residents, in addition to the monthly 85+ treat bags for the residents in February.

flower arrangements
Throughout the pandemic, the Guild has been donating $100 a month to the Manor East recreation staff to fund crafts for the residents and in September 2021 donated $200 to the Manor East Carnival for decorations, prizes, and treats.
In fact, since the start of the pandemic, the ladies of Guild have logged well over 1,500 hours shopping for and delivering supplies to Manor East, writing notes and sending cards to residents, stuffing those treat bags, and visiting Special Friends when finally allowed. In addition, members have donated over $3,000 worth of items for residents with over another $2,000 coming out of Guild funds.
Furthermore, since 2020 the Guild has donated almost $4,000 to the Covenant, Holmes, and Capital Funds of Covenant Woods with much of that money raised by the Guild’s Ruth Shoppe by selling donated gently-used clothing and accessories.
And so, as the Guild celebrates its 20th anniversary at Covenant Woods working in unison with the Manor East recreation staff, remember these are the ladies who can, and will, move mountains to enhance the lives of the residents of Manor East, even during a pandemic, giving new meaning to something as simple as a packet of tissues.