Community Stories

Volunteer of the Month personalized blankets for seniors

January 19, 2023

Volunteer of the Month: Sofia Weiner

After 12-hour shifts at work, Sofia Weiner would spend an hour of her evening sewing names to personalize donated blankets for seniors. 

She worked diligently until each senior in four different care centers had their own blanket, personalizing  more than 100 blankets. We named her Volunteer of the Month for January 2023 because of her steady dedication and care. 

Sofia and her husband, Les, delivered the blankets just before Christmas to The W at Pompano Beach, Harbor Beach Nursing and Rehab Center, Pacifica Senior Living Sunrise and Lenox on the Lake in Lauderhill. 

“They were happy,” Sofia said. “They were amazed.”

Heart2Heart collects cozy blankets made by volunteers and delivers them to care centers. Les, who volunteers at several care centers, noticed that when he gave out blankets, sometimes they didn’t make it back to the original recipients after they were washed. Despite the unique patterns, it was hard for staff to track which blanket belonged to which resident. 

Sofia decided to fix that. With a permanent fabric pen, she wrote the names of each resident on three-inch squares of fabric and got to work sewing the names onto the blankets. 

Les admitted that he’s been collecting blankets from both Heart2Heart and Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale but waiting to give them out until Sofia could personalize each one. 

“It’s a nice thing for her to be honored,” Les said. “She put a long sweat in it to make sure they were done correctly.”

For Sofia, who is from the Philippines, sewing is another form of ministry. She met her husband in Singapore, where she was ministering to people on the streets with scriptures from the Bible. 

Now, Sofia works in the kitchen during the day, preparing food for residents of a smaller care center. That is its own form of ministry. Sofia said her heart goes out to the 26 residents who live there. Sometimes people working with seniors serve out of obligation for their job in order to earn a paycheck. 

“I work with my heart, because, for me, I felt they are my parents,” Sofia said, as she swallowed back tears.

Sofia’s mother is 78 and still lives in the Philippines. However, Sofia hasn’t been back home since she moved to the United States almost seven years ago. 

“We love that Sofia wanted to make the blankets special for our sweet seniors,” said Heart2Heart Community Relations Director Riana Samaroo. “We’re amazed by the thoughtful acts of kindness that our volunteers like Sofia come up with on their own.”

Heart2Heart offers several home-based projects as outreach opportunities to seniors, including the cozy blankets, creating cards or writing notes to seniors. Anyone in the community can participate at home and drop off their creations to Heart2Heart’s main office in Fort Lauderdale. The acts of kindness then get delivered by other volunteers to care centers or to seniors living in the community on their own. 

Click here to get started.

Join the Team!

Becoming a Heart2Heart volunteer means that you are dedicated to serving the aging community. It means you want to connect in a meaningful way to a specific individual or to several people. It means you are committed to a consistent amount of time per month – whether that’s several hours a week or just a few hours per month.

Heart2Heart volunteers must be background checked and trained. Our training can be completed from your home on your computer or device, through the online Volunteer Portal. We run fingerprints in our office in Fort Lauderdale, and you can schedule an appointment with us after you finish the training.

The first step is to create an account on our Volunteer Portal. To get started, click here!

Read more …

Student Volunteers and Seniors Connect at Sun Village Homes

Student Volunteers and Seniors Connect at Sun Village Homes

Nursing student Maria Namendy shares he experiences volunteering at Sun Village Homes in Hialeah.

She’s learned the power of giving seniors a voice — just by listening to their stories.

She’s just one example of how West Coast University students are making a difference.

Read the story

118 Volunteers Needed as Food for Hope Relaunches

118 Volunteers Needed as Food for Hope Relaunches

Food for Hope is BAAACK!!! And the volunteer-led meal delivery program is bigger than ever!

So we need your help!

To deliver meals to Broward County seniors, we need 118 volunteers to give 2-3 hours each week.

This month, our CEO Juan Gallo made a special appeal to Broward County churches for this community-wide effort.

Read about the (relaunched!) Food for Hope

Big Ideas and Small Acts of Kindness

Big Ideas and Small Acts of Kindness

We were inspired by the story of Rashaad Green, an inspirational student we met at a college volunteer fair. At 22 years old, he is helping homeless people, including a 64-year-old senior, and he’s started a club that will bring art therapy to seniors. He dreams of one day curing cancer and opening a permanent and temporary housing facility for the homeless.