MIAMI – Once again, in honor of her beloved grandmother, Kembi Miller has kept her legacy of love alive by providing 275 “Effort of Hope” (EOH) gift bags to the elderly in Miami.
Miller started the holiday gift program to honor her grandmother, the late Edith Orva Holt, who passed away in 2013, by giving special treats and gifts to area seniors.
With a lot of support and help from her family, friends, and the community, Miller's EOH program has grown and grown. After just four years the program has nearly quadrupled from the first year of providing 35 gift bags to seniors in nursing homes and those at home who don't have family or family who is far away.
Miller says the importance of continuing the program is inspired and driven by the response EOH volunteers get from the seniors who receive the heartfelt gifts. Many of the elderly met through the gift-giving program have touched their hearts, and those memories stay with the organizers who pledge to keep the program going.
“Our grandma would have loved this and would have said something like, 'I declare!' and grabbed her face overwhelmed,” Kembi's brother, Jason Miller said with a laugh. “She was incredibly giving, and Kembi wanted to do something to honor that because Grandma was a giving person. So, Kembi started filling the bags with things that Grandma loved.”
The special gift bags are filled with items such as boxed Kleenexes, fleece lap throws, socks, hand lotion, bar soap, pump soap, tins of butter cookies and homemade goodies, boxes of cherry chocolates, and mugs and trays.
Donations of items for the gift bags come from individuals, church groups, and others through word of mouth and Facebook about EOH.
This year Arvest Bank made a special video about EOH after being nominated by a friend and Arvest employee Carrie Montgomery-McCarty as part of their 'People Helping People' campaign. The EOH video and others can be viewed on the Arvest Bank Facebook page.
“I feel like Christmas is about giving and doing for others. It's about doing something for someone and making a difference,” Kembi Miller said, in the video. “I often feel that elderly are forgotten, so I came up with the idea of making gift bags... We feel like we are making a difference in their life, but they're making a huge difference in our lives.”
Kembi Miller's goal is to spread hope to both the gift recipients and those who give of their time to help with the EOH program each year.
“I feel one of the key things we need to do is do good things for other people,” she said.