A young Albion boy with autism put his creative talents to the test last week. The outcome, he brought smiles to almost a hundred isolated seniors at a local care home.
Five-year-old Parker Kaumi decorated no less than 75 bags that were subsequently filled with cookies and delivered to his grandpa and other residents at the Revera-Sunwood Retirement Community on 224th Street last week.
The project, admittedly, was the brainchild of Parker’s mother Lauren, who did all the baking.
“We understand that this time must be very lonely and scary for most of the seniors who are being isolated in their care homes, away from their families,” said Lauren.
“We wanted to find a way to put a smile on their faces and let them know that we are thinking about them.”
She enjoys baking, so cookies were an easy choice for her.
“And I thought it would be cute if I got my son, Parker, to decorate the bags. Parker is autistic and finds drawing extremely therapeutic. He spends the majority of his days drawing pictures. So when I asked him to contribute his drawing skills to the project he was happy to help.”
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Over the course of four days, every morning Lauren would put a stack of bags in front of Parker, and he would get to work drawing.
“Parker has a passion for drawing. He does not fully understand the current situation. He knows that we are all distancing due to many people being very sick. But when I explained to him that we were going to decorate the bags to help other grandmas and grandpas feel happy, he was on board.”
While mom took care of baking 225 cookies, and dividing them up to three a bag, it was Parker’s responsibility to decorate each bag. Oh yeah, he was also tasked with being Mom’s official taste-tester.
“Parker loved seeing the finished product of all of the bags that we did,” Lauren said. “Since we were doing the bags increments each day he didn’t really realize how many we had done until we set them all out on the table.”
The smallest acts of love and generosity can go a long way, Mom repeatedly told her son. When all the bags were ready to go, the scope of their kindness undertaking became real.
“This is a hard time for everyone, some more than others. We as a community need to try to think of ways to spread kindness and remind ourselves that we are not alone in this,” said Lauren, noting Parker and his father, Chris, delivered the bags of cookies to the care home, while she stayed home with Parker’s three-month-old sibling.
The Kaumi boys were unable to deliver the cookies directly to the residents because of “obvious” COVID isolation requirements, but the centre’s receptionist and chef blanketed Parker with extensive thank yous, motivating the youngster to consider doing it all over again.
“We had originally planned on just doing it once,” Mom said. “But since this situation seems to not be ending any time soon, I am sure we will do something similar again in the future. I think we are all finding ourselves feeling a little sad, overwhelmed, and uneasy about the state of the world and doing this project really took my mind off of all of the negativity for a while, and it really felt good to spread the love in whatever way we could.”
This Albion mother challenged others to pitch in and do small things to help uplift the spirits of others at this time.
“This is a very difficult time for all of us, and I can’t imagine how lonely and scary this must be for a lot of the care home residents. Of course they need to isolate for their safety, but being separated from their loved ones and even from each other (a lot of them are now restricted to just staying in their rooms) would be so difficult. A lot of times there are restrictions on sending food, but if you could even get your kids to draw some pictures or write a letter, it would make such a difference in their day. Just to know that we as a community are thinking about them, that must help ease some of the sadness they might be feeling.”
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