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Students collecting sweaters to keep senior citizens warm

LAWRENCEVILLE — When Mae Horne finished gluing all the paper, pompoms and buttons onto her art project Wednesday, she wondered if she could lift it off the table.

“I think everything will fall off,” he said, and laughed with a grin that showed a few missing teeth.

While the same project is kicking off at Loganville’s J.C. Magill Elementary School, Horne and her friends aren’t exactly kids. Next month, she’ll turn 87.

The seniors and youngsters are working together this year with the third annual Sweaters for Seniors program. With a little art project to decorate a paper sweater, staffers with sponsor Alternative Home Care for Seniors explained the program at the Lawrenceville Senior Center on Wednesday.

Derrick Merchant said the program is designed to give the elderly “something that is warming physically as well as emotionally.”

The kids will collect new or gently used sweaters and sell sweater pin-ups, like the feet posted on the wall during cancer fundraisers. Alternative Home Care for Seniors will match the money raised up to $1,000.

“I think that’s really nice,” Ida Mae Simpkins, 83, said of the program, adding, “I brought mine (sweater) this morning because I didn’t know how the air would be in here.”

The crowd enjoyed the art work, too.

Mattie Brown, 94, colored her sweater and pasted a few pompoms on top.

Vivian Storms, 61, said the activity helps improve dexterity in her hands.

“Any type of work like this is good for me,” she said, as she twisted paper into bows and added buttons.”

Melanie Miller, a spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Senior Services, said the help from a business partner is essential in providing the needs for the community’s frail members.

“The weather is so finicky,” she said. “We want to be ready to provide services.”

In addition to the sweater program, the county will once again hold a drive for the donation of portable heaters for seniors. The heaters can be dropped off at local fire stations.

Sweaters can be donated through J.C. Magill Elementary or at Alternative Home Care for Seniors’ Clower Street location in Snellville.