Residents at The Village at Brookwood have spent the past few weeks clearing their closets and filling suitcases. The Burlington retirement community has been collecting items to add to North Carolina’s aid and donations to Ukraine and neighboring European countries. 

Mary McNeil, chair of the Care and Concern committee at TVAB, said there was a response to the donation drive the minute flyers were posted and emails were sent. 

“The first day, one resident cleaned out his closet with jackets and sweaters, shoes and suitcases,” McNeil said. “He alone donated enough to fill the two suitcases that he had.” 

According to McNeil, the Care and Concern committee serves as a group and support system that cares for all residents, whether it’s welcoming new members, delivering flowers to those in the hospital or connecting with the community. But now, it is finding ways to support other people outside of TVAB. McNeil said two other residents helped her lead the mission — Lori Gore and Helen Moore. 

Gore, who has been part of the community since 2019, said she saw residents turn in beautiful clothing and sanitary supplies to donate, even some with tags on them. Small things like backpacks, flashlights and batteries were also turned in. Each item will go a long way for those in Ukraine, especially for those who have lost almost everything or needed to evacuate to surrounding countries. 

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“I was really proud of the people here and thankful that they were able to support us and give from their hearts,” Gore said. “A lot of people have big suitcases which they don’t need anymore when they’re 80 and 90 years old. They turned in the big suitcases, and we packed them up just as full as we could.”

Both Gore and Moore repacked the items into boxes. According to TVAB, donation items filled up an entire pickup truck and a van. 

“​​I was just amazed that our items were in good, really great condition,” Moore said. “It just made me feel a little proud that they could come up with stuff to help our friends in Ukraine.”

Max McNeely, life enrichment assistant at TVAB, worked closely with Gore and Moore as they coordinated the drive. McNeely, who has been at TVAB for almost six years, said the residents have an abundance of energy and are always looking for opportunities to get involved. 

“People are understanding what needs to be done, and stepping up and helping,” McNeely said. “It’s a small part of what these residents at The Village at Brookwood do. They’re vibrant, they’re ready to do things. They tell us, ‘Hey, we got plenty of time, so use us.’”

Though these residents are just part of one community in North Carolina, their care and concern will reach others in other countries. 

“It’s amazing to be a part of such a caring, supportive community,” McNeil said, “We always look for ways to support our local community, as well as the world.”