Presbyterian College junior Abigail Harrison makes it a point to visit her grandmother at her assisted living facility three times a week. Now that she’s taking classes at home in Columbia, she gets to see her grandmother more than she did when she was on campus.
But the visits aren’t quite the same since assisted living facilities stopped allowing visitors in an effort to protect residents from the coronavirus.
“The only way we can see her is if we are standing in the parking lot, and she is on her porch,” Abigail said.
Once a week, Abigail and her mother sit on the curb and eat lunch while they talk to Abigail’s grandmother on the porch.
“She talks about how lonely she is,” Abigail said, but she knows that seeing her from a distance and calling her twice a week are the best ways to stay in touch while keeping her grandmother safe.
Abigail’s visits with her grandmother helped inspire a service project for PC’s three sororities. Abigail, a member of the Panhellenic Council and Alpha Delta Pi sorority, along with fellow Panhellenic Council members, are leading an effort in which sorority members are writing letters to residents at Presbyterian Home in Clinton.
“I feel that it’s important to let them know they’re important and loved,” Abigail said. “We’re also wishing them a Happy Easter since they might not be able to be with their loved ones during that time.”
The letter-writing service project is one of several that Abigail has been involved with at the Presbyterian Home. She and fellow Alpha Delta Pi members also visit residents at the home during events on Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Abigail and her sorority sisters also volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville, S.C., every year.
Now that she’s taking classes at home, she has also volunteered her time helping children stay entertained while they practice social distancing.
“My mom and I have put stuffed animals in our windows for kids to walk around and go on a ‘bear hunt,’" Abigail said.
Still, writing letters to the residents at Presbyterian Home strikes close to Abigail’s heart.
“I know how it is to want to visit a relative in an assisted living facility but not be able to,” she said. “I just want to hug my grandma, but I know I can’t.
“I hope the letters we’re writing help residents feel like they’re loved.”