Perry Lutheran Homes’ Residents are Changing the World!

A special award celebration and presentation event was held to celebrate the recent award given by LeadingAge Iowa to Perry Lutheran Homes. The prestigious LeadingEdge Care and Services award was presented to Perry Lutheran Homes to recognize and hold up as an example the life-changing work through their Meaningful Mission Projects program.

The Meaningful Mission Project Program at Perry Lutheran Homes improves the lives of older adults by engaging residents in projects that provide purpose and meaning in all stages of life. The residents at Perry Lutheran Homes have impacted the world by making more than 35,000 bandages for healthcare in Africa, creating comfort crosses for victims of natural disasters, and joining together with the greater community to pack Meals from the Heartland. There is no greater gift than living a life with purpose,” said Shannon Strickler, President and CEO of LeadingAge Iowa. “Congratulations to Perry Lutheran Homes, and their residents, on the 2018 LeadingEdge Care and Services Award. Together with their residents, they are truly making the world a better place.”

A life with purpose can be one of the most complex things to achieve in an elder-care community setting, but it is crucial to the overall mental health and wellbeing of residents. As residents transition through life stages and into a care community where others are serving them, it can be a challenge for them to find meaningful ways to serve others and remain an active part of their community.

Perry Lutheran Homes has strategically implemented a Meaningful Mission Project program through the efforts of many. This program involves numerous short-term and long-term mission projects that are completed by residents, staff and volunteers together, to make both a community and global impact all while providing purpose and meaning to their every day life at Perry Lutheran Homes. Residents from all Perry Lutheran Homes' campuses and care communities are able to help with various parts of each mission project according to their personalized interests and abilities.

In 2017, eight pallets of gently used bedsheets were secured as a donation to be used in the Global Health Ministries bandage making project. As of April 2018, Perry Lutheran Home residents and volunteers have cut sheets, removed strings, rolled, and shipped a total 35,200 bandages overseas to Africa. These bandages are used as a part of a health ministry to provide low or no-cost healthcare and supplies to tens of thousands of men, women, and children in dire need. Stories are often sent back to us telling about the impact made. One stands out in particular about an eleven-year old girl who was burned in a cooking fire and suffered for nine long months with no care. However, she was finally able to receive care because of Global Health Ministries and our bandage rolling efforts. This is just one of the over 40,000 stories each year from the area of Cameroon, Africa.

Cross Connect is an initiative that aims to provide comfort and connection to those in need and encourage people to connect with the elderly in their communities. Residents, along with volunteers, hand roll clay and shape them into crosses that conform to the palm of their hand. They are then glazed, baked and tagged with a special message. Over 2,000 crosses have been made to-date, including 300 that were shipped to Texas to provide comfort to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Meals from the Heartland meal packing event was held for the third year where 300 community members, school students, service organizations, church groups, staff, and residents work together for the common goal of helping others. As of 2018, over 78,000 meals have been packed at Perry Lutheran Home helping people in Iowa, in the United States, and across the globe.

Other projects consist of newborn kits made up of towels, diapers, blanket, cap, diaper pins and soap. Dresses made out of gently used pillowcases. Denim shoes made out of used jeans. And the list continues.

“This award and these projects are amazing examples of how volunteers, staff, and residents are living out the StepUp! movement by serving together. The Meaningful Mission Projects Program is not about keeping people busy; it is about our residents’ ability to continue living life, serve others, stay integrated with the community, and to provide purpose and meaning regardless of ability or stage in life which is crucial to the overall health and wellbeing of residents,” says Melissa Gannon, Administrator of Perry Lutheran Homes.

Gannon was recognized for her recent graduation from the LeadingAge Emerge Leadership Academy which fosters continued growth and development of leaders in the long-term care industry. During the conclusion of the event, Gannon hinted at further mission work to come in Haiti through a partnership with Ministry in Mission to impact the lives of both orphans and elders. Following the ceremony, guests were treated to donuts, coffee and a Hatian treat of fried bananas.

Would you like to get involved? Visit our volunteer page today!