Family Brings Some Holiday Cheer To Nishna Productions Residents
In early December, the Ed and Delsie Sands Family delivered Christmas to Nishna Productions, Inc. (NPI) residents in Malvern. For more than 20 years, on the first Saturday of December, the Sands family gathers with gifts, carols, snacks and heaps of good will to bring holiday cheer to the residents.
The tradition started when Ed Sands, a World War II veteran and long-time Malvern resident, was placed in Glen Haven Nursing Home due to his failing health. His wife, Delsie, served on a review board for a nursing home in Malvern. Between the two experiences, they noticed that many people in care facilities do not typically get many visits from family or friends. In 2000, Delsie suggested the family visit a local facility to share
Christmas with the residents instead of exchanging gifts among themselves as a family.
Ed and Delsie’s son, Richard “Fuzz”, had previously worked at the Nishna Productions residential site in Malvern at one time, and, thus, a tradition was born.
Over the years, the tradition has grown to include Ed and Delsie’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. While every year includes gifts, goodie trays and caroling, some years include skits with Richard having dressed up as Santa Claus and other family members dressed like reindeer and elves.
Although Richard is now deceased, his wife Diane, still participates in the family tradition.
“One of the reasons we do this is to teach the kids that Christmas is about giving, not just getting,” said Diane. Byron Sands.
Richard’s brother, added, “Since this tradition began, we have come to know how well the residents enjoy it. We have gotten attached to them.”
This year was no different.
Twenty members of the Sands family, spanning three generations, arrived at the Malvern residential site on Dec. 3 laden with gifts, goodie trays, and hearts full of Christmas cheer.
They greeted the residents like old friends.
After a time of catching up, the family began to sing carols with the residents. When the singing was finished, the residents opened their gifts.
After many hugs, the Sands family left while singing, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Their visit lasted about 45 minutes but touched the lives of the residents for much longer.
“We have been blessed in so many ways and just want to share the love of Christ Jesus through us to them,” said Byron Sands.
Nishna Productions, Inc. is a non-profit agency in southwest Iowa that provides support for adults with disabilities, allowing them to live and work in their respective communities
Nishna Productions operates seven residential facilities in the region.