Ava’s Mission: CMS student collects donations for seniors
Ava Oquendo, an eighth-grade student at Catasauqua Middle School, made her second donation Dec. 20, 2020, to ManorCare Health Services, 2029 Westgate Drive, Bethlehem. Ava’s Mission donates personal care and comfort items to the residents.
According to her grandmother, Jan Kelly, Ava used to visit her Aunt Linda weekly at ManorCare two years ago. During these visits, she became close with other residents. Following the death of her aunt last year, Ava wanted to do something nice for the residents.
According to her mother, Andrea Hariegle, Ava noticed many of the residents do not have many visitors or family, so she wanted to make sure they all had something special for the holidays.
She asked if they could get everyone a Christmas gift.
This was the beginning.
“She wanted to show the residents that someone cares and that they are appreciated,” Hariegle said.
According to Kelly, donations toward the effort were collected from friends, family, co-workers and more. Members of Kelly’s church, Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eastern Salisbury, Allentown, also donated.
Kelly noted they got the name for the efforts from one of her co-workers. Upon making her donation, the woman said, “It’s for Ava’s mission.”
Kelly noted ManorCare usually has a giving tree in the lobby during the holidays with the names of residents and things they would like. Over the years, Kelly noted many of the residents asked for things like body wash, socks and more. She reported the Ava’s Mission donation items included these sorts of items, as well as shaving cream, shampoo, deodorant, blankets, perfume, books, puzzles and more.
According to Kelly, the donations more than doubled for Ava’s Mission this year. Ava noted she wants to continue making annual donations to the facility.
“It’s nice to make them feel happy and to make sure they all get something,” Ava said.
Hariegle said she is proud of Ava’s willingness to help other people and her desire to put a smile on other people’s faces.
“It means a lot to me,” she said. “She found a way to make a difference in her way at her age.”
Hariegle believes these efforts show Ava’s kind heart, and she is glad Ava wants to continue with her mission.
“She’s always a giver and always likes to make somebody else feel good,” Hariegle said.