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Letter to Editor: REALTORS come together to ‘hug’ community’s seniors

Dear editor,

On realizing the Vicksburg-Warren County Board of REALTORS was not going to be able to celebrate Christmas together in their usual fashion of food, music and togetherness; the members decided to pass their Christmas on to others.

On Dec. 4, the officers and directors of the board unanimously voted to use the Christmas budget to spread love to those who are especially hard hit this Christmas. The elderly in our local nursing homes and nursing homes across the nation are suffering from catastrophic COVID-19 case numbers and cut off from even their closest of family members.

In this way, the Vicksburg REALTOR Christmas hug was born. After the announcement the Board had made the decision to use the budget for 20 patients at Shady Lawn Nursing facility, officers of the board started offering their own money. REALTORS began to stop by, call in and make cash app commitments to the growing gift.

Soon, a $20 per patient gift became a $60 per patient gift, along with a giant basket filled with assorted games for their recreation room, and a basket of goodies such as chocolates, and herbal teas for those seniors who were able to enjoy them.  Extra pens for stationary, sleeping masks, fun-filled Christmas crackers and shower caps also overflowed the gift baskets.

Each “Christmas hug” on its own held an oversized faux fur, or Sherpa throw, bamboo hairbrush, toiletry gift set, slippers with grippers, manicure gift set and some stationary.

I, as the Vicksburg-Warren County Board of REALTORS Association Executive, got to carry out this plan for the REALTORS, shop the shops, pack the hugs, and deliver them to Shady Lawns Director Pamela Stevenson. This kept me as the main person to handle the 20 hugs and all the extras. Once packed they were then left to sit in my office for 48 hours untouched, and after delivery, they sat on the bench outside for about eight hours before being taken inside the nursing home.

This was done to mitigate any threat of spreading the virus.

My hope, and the hope of all our local REALTORS, are that the residents at Shady Lawn are as blessed in receiving these gifts as the REALTORS were in giving them. I know it doesn’t make the loneliness go away, but it is our hope it can put a smile on just a few faces in the coming days. Many of us have, or have had family in local care and are deeply saddened for their total isolation during this pandemic, and now the holiday season.


Jillean R. Bishop, 

Association Executive, Vicksburg-Warren County Board of REALTORS