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Bird Feeder Project Working to Bring Joy to Local Nursing Home Residents

by and on August 04, 2020 5:00 AM

With help from a grant awarded by 3 Dots Downtown, a project called “Sponsor a Window” is working to install bird feeders outside Centre County nursing and personal care homes, bringing a bit of joy to residents of facilities that have been largely closed to visitors because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cindy Way, who works part-time at Hearthside Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in State College, heads up the “Sponsor a Window” project and her idea is to provide bird feeders near windows for the residents to enjoy.

“These folks can use something to brighten their days,” she said. 

Since winning the grant last month, Way is ready to help anyone interested in pitching in. Locals may see Way’s group on Facebook, where there are members willing to help with the bird feeders.

The grant gave Way the means to supply a shepherd’s hook, a bird feeder, a metal trash can to hold feed and the first bag of feed to anyone who is willing to maintain the site.

This means that a person who wishes to sponsor a window will take care of replenishing the bird feed and filling it as needed.

Of course, those interested would need to make sure the facility approves of the installation of a feeder.

“I did this recently at a facility and the residents spend many enjoyable hours watching birds,” Way said.

“My mom had Alzheimer’s and I’ve seen what small efforts can do for people who are struggling in the best of times. During this pandemic, it has been especially difficult for those who can’t get out or have family come to them.”

This time of shut down and quarantine has been particularly hard on seniors in long-term care facilities. With no visitors allowed, many have not seen family for months. Some homes have arranged ways to allow family to see a loved one in a safe manner; but, many are still keeping the residents safe by not allowing folks from the outside to enter the buildings.

Something as simple as a bird feeder can bring a little sunshine into the lives of people who have suffered from isolation more than the general populace, said Way.

As a chapter of the Awesome Foundation, 3 Dots gives out monthly, $1,000 Awesome Grants support a world-wide effort to “spread a little more awesome in the universe,” according to the organization's website.

Those with an innovative idea of something that can benefit the community and bring people together in a common goal are encouraged to submit it.

The trustees vote on the last Tuesday of each month and use the following criteria to decide winners:

 • Does it make Centre County an awesome place to call home?

 • Does the money produce something tangible that can be seen?

 • Are you pushing yourself to explore something new?

 • Does your project engage the broader community?

To learn more and apply visit or contact 3 Dots Innovation Director Spud Marshall at [email protected]

If you're thinking about a possible location for a bird feeder and maybe a bird bath, you can still get in on the Sponsor a Window project by contacting Cindy Way at [email protected]. She will meet you and bring the supplies, or you can pick them up.

Editor's note: Photo courtesy 3 Dots Downtown. A provided photo that previously appeared with this story was incorrectly credited. The previous photo should have been credited to Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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