Dowagiac resident organizes gift donation for Timbers of Cass County residents

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, December 22, 2021

DOWAGIAC — One Dowagiac resident worked with local businesses throughout the holiday season to ensure the area’s seniors were not forgotten this Christmas.

Kimberly Vanderbelt, 52, has been organizing the Adopt a Grandparent program at Timbers of Cass County, a nursing facility located at 55432 Colby St., Dowagiac, for nearly a decade. On Tuesday, Vanderbelt kept the tradition going by delivering more than 100 wrapped Christmas gifts donated by area businesses to be distributed to the facility’s residents.

“What I do is go around to the area businesses to see if they are able to donate a present or $20 a gift,” Vanderbelt said. “If the goal is not met, I chip in the rest.”

The goal of the Adopt a Grandparent program is to bring joy to area seniors around the holidays, Vanderbelt said.

“I want to be able to help my community,” she said. “I want to be able to say that you are not alone, that everyone still thinks about you. Kids get all the attention around the holiday with Toys for Tots and this and that, but no one remembers that we have grandparents out there. So, I want to be able to direct my help and my efforts toward the grandparents because they are how all of this exists.”

Vanderbelt said this year’s Adopt a Grandparent program is extra special as it had to take a hiatus the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s amazing — I’m all kinds of excited,” Vanderbelt said. “I was amazed how generous everyone was. I’m just excited to have the community back together and make this an event for everyone.”

Timbers of Cass County Administrator Hendrik Melton said the residents at the nursing facility always appreciate the Adopt a Grandparent program and will be even more excited this year after enduring two years of COVID-19 shutdowns.

“We have a lot of residents who are long term who don’t have family or have distant family, and the compassion of the community helping them to just have a gift on Christmas is a big deal,” Melton said.