Residents at River Oaks got a special treat this Valentine’s Day. A little girl pulled a wagon filled with boxes of gaily-wrapped Girl Scout cookies and homemade Valentine’s Day cards into the assisted living apartment building and delivered goodie bags to the 91 seniors living there.
“This is just so sweet. Look – so many beautiful cards. And look at her sweet smile. What a honey,” said Donna Mae Reishus as nine-year old Carly Glomstad pulled her wagon into the dining room at River Oaks in Anoka last Friday afternoon.
After introductions by activities director Shawna Kremer, Carly delivered hugs and kisses, Valentine’s Day cards and cookies to everyone.
Earlier in the week, Carly delivered 25 Valentines and 25 goodie bags to Anoka’s HOPE 4 Youth drop-in center for homeless youth. (Those goodie bags contained items Carly found on the HOPE 4 Youth wish list.)
In fact, this year (the sixth consecutive year of the little girl’s Valentine’s Day mission) Carly delivered 575 Valentine goodie bags. Those treats brought love and cheer to children and seniors, homeless teens, families in crisis, and cancer patients.
“I just want everyone to know they are loved on Valentine’s Day,” Carly said.
Carly, who lives in Maple Grove, began her heartfelt Valentine’s Day mission when she was just four years old.
“We read a book to her about a girl who gave Valentines to everyone she could think of. Carly said she wanted to do that, too. She didn’t want anyone to be left out or feel lonely on Valentine’s Day, so we said, ‘Sure,’” said Carly’s mom, Tina.
“We thought that was so sweet, but we also thought she’d probably forget about it – she was just four years old.”
But each year, Carly told her mom and dad she wanted to do it again and give to even more people.
“She just doesn’t want anyone to feel sad on Valentine’s Day,” Tina said.
And so, the project has grown each year. At its inception, Tina and Carly’s dad, Jim, realized this could get expensive, and so they sent a letter out to family and friends asking if anyone would like to help with the cost of the project.
The first year, Carly raised about $450, made 115 goodie bags and cards and delivered them to people at four locations.
This year, Carly raised about $5,000 and delivered 575 goodie bags and cards to people at 11 locations.
“This just keeps getting bigger,” said Tina, watching Carly hug residents at River Oaks and seeing the seniors smile and giggle in return.
“Who knows what she’ll do when she gets bigger – she already has such a big heart,” her mom said.
To learn more about Carly’s Valentine’s Day project, visit CarlyValentine.com.
Sue Austreng is at firstname.lastname@example.org