On Tuesday, Jaime Kinsey, a local dental hygienist, said she saw a need in the community and decided to do something about it.

Kinsey said she had recently started “Operation Reach Out,” a “care shower concept created to encourage residents in Wabash County nursing homes and rehab facilities.”

Kinsey said she started a Facebook group for the project and several teachers had already reached out with the intention of having their students make cards for these residents who may be suffering from loneliness.

“This is a huge need in our community,” said Kinsey.

On Thursday, Jami Bartel, a nurse manager at Miller’s Merry Manor East, said she was “so excited” when she was contacted about the program.

“Our residents need this cheer at this time of the year,” said Bartel. “Most of them don’t understand what is going on outside our doors but they do understand when they get something to brighten their day. This is something that none of us have lived through. We will take any kind of small things to cheer up our residents.”

Bartel said it was “amazing” how the community was coming together to support seniors who had been isolated due to the outbreaks of COVID-19 in facilities all over the state.

“Wabash is a great community that seems to always come together and help with any needs that arise. We at Miller’s Merry Manor can not thank everyone enough for doing this,” said Bartel.

On Thursday, Mary Norman, Wabash Middle School fifth grade teacher, said her class was participating in this project.

“I feel this is an excellent way for them to spread joy and put a smile on some faces this Christmas season,” said Norman. “In class, we talk often about being kind and making a positive impact on people. These fabulous fifth graders were very excited and eager to participate. Some are even making more cards at home with their families. We are truly hopeful that the special people receiving our cards will be blessed and encouraged.”

Kinsey said they were always accepting more volunteers.

“Help us help them,” said Kinsey. “All facilities have been contacted and will disperse cards evenly among the residents as they come in.”

Kinsey said the cards need addresses to “Operation Reach Out” followed by facility address.

The facilities in need of cards include:

Miller’s Merry Manor East, 1900 Alber St., Wabash, IN 46992. (The estimated resident count is 60.)

Bickford Cottage, 3037 Niccum Road, Wabash, IN 46992. (The estimated resident count is 25.)

Miller’s Merry Manor West, 1720 Alber St., Wabash, IN 46992. (The estimated resident count is 30.)

Wellbrooke of Wabash, 20 John Kissinger Drive, Wabash, IN 46992. (The estimated resident count is 70.)

Vernon Manor, 1955 Vernon St., Wabash, IN 46992. (The estimated resident count is 56.)

Autumn Ridge, 600 Washington St., Wabash, IN 46992. (The estimated resident count is under 50.)

Rolling Meadows LaFontaine, 604 Rennaker St., Lafontaine, IN 46940. (The estimated resident count is 80.)

Peabody Retirement Community, 400 W. 7th St., North Manchester IN 46962.

Timbercrest Senior Living, 2201 East St, North Manchester, IN 46962.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com.