Thursday April 24, 2014

Weyburn woman spreads warm drinks and feelings

A cup of cheer for forgotten residents

Teresa Sandeski delivers delicious cheer to many seniors around Weyburn, and even some students at Haig School.

She collects as many tea and coffee mugs as she can throughout the year, which are donated to her by Weyburn and area residents, and fills them with tea or hot chocolate and other goodies to give to shut-ins living in senior care homes. Then, she takes them to care homes around the city to give to seniors at Christmas time.

Last year was her first year with the project and she gave out 86 mugs. This year she gave 88 hot chocolate and specialty tea mugs to residents at Crocus Villa and Parkway Lodge plus about 30 more to some Grade 3 students at Haig School.

“God put this on my heart to do it,” she said. Sandeski, who is originally from Vermont, took up the project after her parents passed away because she had regrets about not being able to go home to visit them as often as she would have liked which led her into a depression.

Her mother passed away in July of 2011 and her father passed away 10 months prior to that. Towards the end, Sandeski’s parents weren’t even able to live in the same care homes and she said her mother’s health worsened quickly after her father passed. Sandeski decided to take her pain and regrets and turn it into something positive.

“I decided I needed to reach out to people living in nursing homes,” she said and recruited her friends and contacts on Facebook to help her collect free mugs. She is open about her reasons for wanting them.

“I explain that it basically started out as therapy,” said Sandeski.

She said she doesn’t think she is the only one getting joy from it though as the response she gets when she gives the care home residents their mugs is a strong one.

“Lots of them didn’t understand who I was or what I was doing,” said Sandeski. “It brought lots of tears and lots of hugs. A lot of them are so grateful and almost bewildered.”

Sandeski makes each mug a special treat for the person who receives it. In mugs intended for women, she includes a specialty tea with tea biscuits, some chocolate and a candy cane. Men’s mugs include hot chocolate, biscuits and candy canes and the special mugs she made for Haig students this year were movie themed. She put hot chocolate, mini marshmallows, a popcorn ball, a candy cane and some chocolate in each mug. All of the food and drink mixes she puts in the mugs are also donated. The only items she purchases are the candy canes. She said doing the work helps give her purpose.

“To me, I feel like I’m meeting a need,” she said and explained that it is nice to feel needed. “As long as I have, I can give.”

Now her family is getting in on the project as well. Her children, Matthew, Josiah and Faith, helped her deliver the mugs. She still likes to prepare them all on her own though.

“This is what I do late at night when I can’t sleep,” said Sandeski and explained that she suffers from polio, which can cause pain and keeps her awake. Working on preparing the mugs gives her something else to focus on when she is awake during the wee hours of the night.

At one point, she was down to only 26 more mugs to prepare but said boxes full of mugs came flooding in after that. However she could always use more and can stockpile them and work on them for next year.

“I’m so grateful for all the support the community has given me,” said Sandeski. She wants to be able to take more mugs to more care home residents, especially the Special Care Home and Tatagwa View. The only reason she could not get to them this year was because she still needed more mugs.


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