The faces of many area nursing home residents and folks in other facilities shined with smiles Friday as each received a beautiful heart-shaped balloon for Valentine’s Day from Kroger’s in Portsmouth and Kroger’s customers.
“This is something we do every year,” Jay Wilson, the Portsmouth Kroger store manager said. “We just take them over to the local nursing homes and Notre Dame High School helps us deliver those.”
“We received a call from Nancy Burns at Kroger’s a few days ago asking if we had students who would be interested in volunteering to do that,” Nancy Stegman, Key Club advisor at Notre Dame, said. “When we met, I just asked for volunteers and there was a group of them that were really excited to participate in this service.”
The event is called Heart-To-Heart, and Katie Frantz, a member of the Kroger Portsmouth management team said it is all from their customers.
“This is all from the community,” Frantz said. “Kroger just kind of orchestrates it. We take the $2.99 you pay for the balloon. And that is the cost. We make no money from it. We just take care of delivering it out into the community. So it’s all from the community.”
Balloons were distributed at Bridgeport, Hempstead, Hill View, Heartland, Bristol Care, Hospice and the Scioto County Cancer Center.
“We have been doing that for at least seven years,” Wilson said.
Stegman said service is really what the Notre Dame Key Club is all about.
“It is really what these kids have learned to do since they were very young,” Stegman said. “As part of Notre Dame we are all called to serve and so with Key Club it just kind of gives a name to something that they’ve already done and it also allows the community to know they can contact us for any way that we can serve them.”
Samantha Lyons (left) and Jennifer Penley work the counter in the floral department at the Portsmouth Kroger store as shoppers buy for Valentine’s Day. Behind them are some 600 balloons the community has provided for area nursing home residents and other facilities.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.