BAYTOWN, Texas — For residents Jack Newlin, 87, and Billie Loop, 82, Heartis Clear Lake has been a wonderful place to live out their golden years with friends.
Loop explained that living alone at home on her own had become, “just too lonely and you get to talking to yourself.”
For Newlin, the people at Heartis have become his family over the past three years.
“Some of them have good names for me and some of them have no names for me,” Newlin joked, “but I love them all!”
However, this month, lifestyle director Becky Hudson found out there was one thing they’ve been missing.
“One of my residents, she happened to mention that she hadn’t handed out candy in over 30 years,” Hudson said.
Hudson arranges for children and their families to spend time with residents every week, explaining that something magic happens when her seniors are around kids.
“A resident can be a little lethargic, a little tired… the minute the kids come in their whole face changes,” Hudson said.
“Oh, man, it’s heaven,” Newlin said. “It’s heaven.”
“You know, completely uninhibited,” Loop said. “They just do whatever comes to their mind… kind of like us!”
So, a couple of weeks before Halloween, Hudson posted a picture onto Facebook of some of the seniors holding up signs asking for candy donations, that way they could invite children over to trick-or-treat.
“After we took that photo, we just kind of joked about maybe we would get a couple bags of candy,” she said.
The photo was shared thousands of times, and forget just getting bags of candy, they got boxes.
“The next thing you know we’ve got a wall full of Amazon boxes!” Newlin said.
Thousands of pieces of candy were donated from across the country from strangers simply wanting to make Halloween happy for Heartis Clear Lake residents.
“It’s so touching because every bag of candy represents the selflessness of somebody that just wanted to help us out,” Hudson said.
And, surrounded by so much candy that it takes up an entire room, Loop simply said the response has been “overwhelming”.
“I didn’t know that there were people like that in this country,” Newlin said. “I thought this country had done gone to hell, but I see that it hasn’t.”
The community is invited out to Hartis Clear Lake on October 31st, 2019, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to candy, there will also be snacks, a bounce house, hayrides and face painting.