Wednesday, volunteers in Johnstown filled care packages to the brim with hygiene products, toys and trinkets to donate to local hospice patients.
These care packages are called “Buba Boxes.” They’re filled with hygiene products, supplies and fun things that hospice patients might need or want: combs, mouthwash, decks of cards, teddy bears, etc.
The idea all started with Teri Adams. She’s the volunteer coordinator for Conemaugh Regional Hospice. She understands first-hand what it’s like to have a loved one in need. Her grandmother or “Buba” –Minnie Uzelac — had Alzheimer’s disease.
“She was still so loving and so caring,” said Teri.
Buba passed away nearly 30 years ago, but Teri wanted to carry on her legacy and cheer up others who are homebound.
She enlisted her daughter Tasha’s help to launch the Buba Box Project. They got a grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies for about $2,000 to make the care packages.
“A lot of our patients don’t have the means or the ability to go or purchase special items they need or want,” Teri said.
Thanks to the grant and other donations, they’ll be able to hand out 275 Buba Boxes.
“Seeing it come to light and seeing her dream come true is amazing,” Tasha said.
Tasha works for Alleghenies Unlimited Care Providers. Participants in their “Ability Works” program helped pack the boxes. It’s a free program that gives people living with disabilities the chance to socialize, have fun and give back.
“A lot of times, the individuals in our program have caregivers that come to their homes, so many times they are the ones being cared for.So, something like this to give back to other people is huge,” said Tasha, the Development & Media coordinator for AUCP.
One volunteer who made care packages, Mary T Boxler, has Cerebral palsy.
“[The patients] are going to be excited,” said Boxler. “It was very inspiring and it’s a good cause.”
“I could probably use some of the stuff in the boxes. They’re useful,” said Chad Lushko, another volunteer. Lushko was in a car accident and suffered a spinal cord injury and a traumatic brain injury.
He said he likes helping out the community and he thinks the patients will feel “thankful.”
Hospice will pick up the care packages on November 27, also known as Giving Tuesday, to deliver to patients.
Hospice volunteer Walt Wojnaroski said the Buba Boxes are a simple way to help and let patients know that someone cares.
“I’m sure that they’ll enjoy it, but it’s more that they’re being thought of that’s important,” said Wojnaroski.
Teri added that she’s glad to help the patients while paying tribute to her grandmother
“Receiving any type of gift, especially when your homebound is so important,” Teri said. “And to know that it was made with love and care.”