NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– A lot of gift baskets fill Rosalyn Alcantara’s car. She is the coordinator for the Foster Grandparent Program run by Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“It’s a hard time for the grandparents right now,” said Alcantara. “They are so used to being in the school and the children.”
Today is her chance to say thanks to the senior mentors now stuck at home.
Among those surprised with gift baskets filled with hand sanitizer, crossword puzzles, a gift card, and other goodies was Edith Tudisco. She volunteers in Norwich and misses her students.
“I’m so worried about them right now,” said Tudisco.
She provides help with math and reading but also emotional and social support.
“I just called some of the teachers and went ‘is there something I can do? Can the kids call me on the phone and we can read?'” said Tudisco.
News 8 first met Tudisco last April when high fives and hugs were welcome. Today she could use some.
“I want to hug everyone but I can’t,” Tudisco told Alcantara and Jeannette Mendez, the Foster Grandparent Program Manager for Nutmeg.
All together, they are delivering 86 gift baskets in eastern Connecticut, as well as the Hartford area. That is a lot of traveling but it’s also a lot of reward.
“Just to see the smiles on their faces and how they’re excited to see us,” said Alcantara.
“This is unbelievable,” said Foster Grandparent Lorraine Dollard, of Gales Ferry. “I’m shaking.”
Dollard volunteers at the Head Start program in Groton.
“I found a niche for myself and I’m missing this since March 12th,” said Dollard.
She misses the kids the most.
“Fifteen in one classroom and I have 15 in the others classroom all yell ‘Grandma’ at the same time!” exclaimed Dollard. “It’s just delightful.”
And it’s something other seniors can do if they want to give back to the next generation.
“Oh, this made my day,” said Tudisco.