SIDNEY – Pat Liebel is occupying her time and bringing joy to others by creating handmade cards for residents of Shelby County’s nursing homes.
Liebel has completed more than 200 cards – one for each resident at Fair Haven, Shelby Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, and Sidney Care Center – and started to work on cards for the residents of Landings of Sidney.
“It’s a nice thing to keep me occupied, and it’s also a nice thing that someone is going to receive a card to let them know I’m thinking of them during this difficult time,” the Sidney resident said.
For more than 30 years, Liebel has been active in stamping – a crafting technique in which ink-coated stamps are pressed onto paper or other materials to create designs. She has a studio with thousands of clear and wood-mounted stamps in her basement where she has created the cards for nursing home residents.
“Now that people can’t have visitors and things like that, it makes me feel very good,” Liebel said of making the cards.
Liebel normally hosts stamping classes and also is a member of two stamping groups that meet monthly at her home. However, all of those activities – and an annual four-day stamping retreat at her house – have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders from the Ohio Department of Health.
To occupy her time while isolated at home, Liebel was inspired by a friend to make cards for nursing home residents. The friend, Susanne Glover, also of Sidney, had created 50 handmade cards for residents of Ohio Living Dorothy Love.
Tasha Wilson, the director of admissions and marketing at Shelby Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, said residents were excited to receive Liebel’s cards and loved the little details, vibrant colors and jewels that adorn them.
“She sent in lots of cards, and they were all super beautiful. They were all handmade, and you could tell she took a lot of care,” Wilson said. “They brightened everyone’s day.”
Shelby Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation and Sidney Care Center officials said they’ve received donations of cards, notes, drawings, magazines, coloring books, snacks and more since Gov. Mike DeWine declared last month that visitors were prohibited at Ohio nursing homes in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“I think it’s been great,” Teresa Katterhenry, the activities director at Sidney Care Center, said of the donations. “Every other day I’ve been passing out cards. It’s been something for them to look forward to.
“They’re just excited because it’s mail. It’s something to look at, something new for them.”
In addition to Liebel and other local residents, Shelby County nursing homes have received donations from people across the state including individuals in Ashville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Springfield and Urbana.
“I just think that everyone has been so gracious, and it’s been so refreshing to see how caring the community has been,” Wilson said.
Liebel works approximately nine hours each day to create cards, spending 30 to 60 minutes on each. Once she has an entire batch complete, one of her roommates, Sue Kaufman, delivers them to the nursing homes.
“I’m thinking of them and sending them love and prayers during this time,” Liebel said.
The nursing homes welcome donations, which are lifting spirits and helping to keep residents entertained, both Katterhenry and Wilson said.
“It’s a great opportunity for the community reaching out to people in here who can’t get out of their rooms,” Katterhenry said.
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