Seniors who struggle to afford basic items are remembered on Valentine's Day through "Operation Love Drop."

Texarkana Arkansas resident Vickie Lacy is shown with Valentine's Day gift baskets for senior adults. Lacy, the city of Texarkana Arkansas and volunteers make baskets including hygiene items as part of “Operation Love Drop.” The baskets were delivered on Valentine's Day.  (Staff photo by Lori Dunn)
Texarkana Arkansas resident Vickie Lacy is shown with Valentine's Day gift baskets for senior adults. Lacy, the city of Texarkana Arkansas and volunteers make baskets including hygiene items as part of “Operation Love Drop.” The baskets were delivered on Valentine's Day. (Staff photo by Lori Dunn)

TEXARKANA, Ark. --A number of senior adults in Texarkana opened their doors on Valentine's Day to a sweet surprise.

Texarkana, Arkansas, resident Vickie Lacy and a crew of volunteers put together about 135 baskets of hygiene items, cleaning supplies and other items for senior adults. This is the second year for "Operation Love Drop," Lacy said. The baskets were delivered on Valentine's Day.

The baskets were put together at the Texarkana Arkansas Parks and Recreation Building. The city of Texarkana Arkansas helps sponsor Operation Love Drop along with a large number of volunteers.

Lacy said basket recipients often are recommended to her by church and civic groups.

Family Dollar store on East Ninth Street donated the balloons. Friends offered to help make ribbons for the baskets. One friend even took a class to learn how to make bows, Lacy said.

A good number of volunteers come from Lacy's church, Grace and Mercy Church of God in Christ.

Lacy said the idea for the project came to her when she was collecting signatures to run for the Texarkana Arkansas School Board.

"I was visiting a lot of seniors in their homes and realized some of them were having trouble affording basic hygiene items," she said. "I went to this lady's house, and she was putting on baby powder instead of deodorant. She said, "You just got to do what you can do."

Many older people, such as those on a fixed income, may have to forgo common hygiene products to pay for larger expenses. It launched Lacy into action to assist the woman by purchasing deodorant and other items.

"I knew I had to do something and that's when I came up with the idea for the baskets," Lacy said.

Operation Love Drop is held on Valentine's Day for a reason. Lacy said she wants to get past the busy season of Christmas. As soon as Christmas is over, she starts preparing for the Valentine baskets.

The baskets can also be Valentines to seniors, who are often isolated. The items in the basket are practical. Even the basket itself is a small laundry basket. But the bright balloons attached can offer a bit of brightness to someone's day.

"It's a good feeling to see the smiles on their faces when they get a Valentine's basket," Lacy said. "I hope to keep doing this as long as I can."

Anyone wishing to assist with Operation Love Drop can call Lacy at 903-691-8508.

Donations are what keeps the project going.

"One woman donated $500 last year and $1,000 this year," Lacy said.

Items needed for next year's baskets include toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, tooth brushes, lotion, hand sanitizers, shaving cream, razors, laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, body wash and manicure sets.

Laundry baskets, clear wrapping cellophane, red bows and ribbons are also needed.

photo A Mickey and Minnie Mouse balloon is shown on a basket of hygiene items that were delivered to senior adults on Valentine's Day. (Photo by Lori Dunn)
photo Valentine's Day gift baskets for senior adults fill a room at the Texarkana Arkansas Parks and Recreation Building. Vickie Lacy, the city of Texarkana Arkansas and volunteers make baskets including hygiene items as part of "Operation Love Drop." The baskets were delivered on Valentine's Day. (Staff photo by Lori Dunn)

Upcoming Events