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Volunteers deliver gifts to former residents of closed assisted living facility

Posted at 5:47 PM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 18:32:52-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- For 20 years, members of the First Unitarian Church in Carytown have delivered gifts at Christmas-time to the residents of The Parkwood, an assisted living facility for people suffering from some form of mental illness.

"It's my Christmas," Ronda Ford, a volunteer from the church who delivers the gifts, said.

"Mine too, this is it right here," June Bohrer, another volunteer from the church, said.

Although The Parkwood closed permanently last week, that tradition wasn't going to change this year, thanks to volunteers like Ford and Bohrer.

Ford and Bohrer

Ford and Bohrer

The pair, along with the help of another woman from the church, tracked down most of the 58 residents’ new homes to deliver this year's gifts.

But, there are still about eight residents that they have not tracked down yet.

They hope the community can help.

"That's our concern is that we make sure we reach out, and we find everyone, and that they're at least in a safe place," Ford said.

Roughly 25 of the former Parkwood residents were transferred to the former owner of The Parkwood's other assisted living home in Petersburg: Fillmore Place.

CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit and photojournalist Jason Hicks accompanied them to drop off the gifts, but the news team was not allowed inside.



The administrator did not let CBS 6 talk to any of the gift recipients, but Ford and Bohrer said the residents loved their presents.

"It was nice to see that there is a stray cat hanging out outside because we have one of the residents that every year she asks for cat treats to feed the cats, so she has a cat to feed," Ford said.

Both said they hope their efforts inspire others to remember these residents year round and not just at Christmas.

"It really makes you see that it's a spirit you need to keep in your heart all year," Bohrer said.

If you think you might know where some of the residents are living that the ladies cannot find, you can reach the volunteers at the First Unitarian Church by calling (804) 355-0007.