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Medical clinic hosting coloring drive to help seniors experiencing loneliness and depression

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CHEROKEE, Iowa (KTIV) - Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many seniors who live in nursing homes and assisted living centers, have not been able to physically see there loved ones in months, and medical professionals say it's causing them to suffer from loneliness and depression.

COVID-19 has kept families apart for months now -- especially for residents living in nursing homes or assisted living centers.

Staff at Sioux Valley Family Health in Cherokee, Iowa came up with the idea to host a drive called "Color for Friends."

The drive involves children coloring some fun cartoon characters, and mailing them to a resident to brighten their day, and help them feel loved.

"We are doing this in memory of Richard Cutsor who was a patient here. We saw the journey his family went through with his health declining, and his family not being able to see him," said Katelyn Stahl, Receptionist.

Chris Vandelune the owner and physician of the clinic says he has telehealth visits with his nursing home patients at least once a month, and he has really noticed how their health has declined since the pandemic started.

"It's amazing what just human interaction with their family and taking that away has done to them, and it breaks my heart when I do a lot of those visits," said Vandelune. "A lot of them are losing weight, and having major health issues that are snowballing upon them because of it," said Vandelune.

The clinic's staff is encouraging families to stop by their clinic to pick up a coloring page or visit their website to print one-off.

On Aug. 13, the clinic will host an event outside of their facility. At the event, the children will be able to pick out the name of a resident and finish their coloring by adding a quick note of encouragement for their new special friend.

"We want to let people know this isn't just for kids it's also for adults," said Stahl.

Vandelune says one of their main goals is that this will start a trend -- and people will begin mailing letters, drawings, or paintings to residents all around the world.

Every child who participates will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cone or sundae from Dairy Queen.

For your coloring page click here.

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Xava Parra

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