A Butterfly of Love package, brings help, love, hope and a thank you during COVID-19 pandemic
Living the Circle of Mercy during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Kaila Lujambio ’21 along with a group of Mercy High School friends came together to start "A Butterfly of Love" service project. The students are putting together care packages to deliver facemasks for people working and volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also delivering care cards for patients and people who cannot receive visitors. In addition, the girls are including Thank You messages to people who are working and helping others.
A Butterfly of Love mandala is a gift of patience, love, and hope. A mandala represents that life is never ending and everything is connected. Lujambio is the creator of the project and is the lead organizer along with Katie Bogucki ‘20. Week by week more "butterflies of love" are coming aboard. Currently, the following Mercy students are involved: Gabby Algiere '23, Christina Beaulieu '20, Jess Bogucki '23, Elena Cahill '21, Gabby Grant ’20, Aine Lally '22, Sarah Lynch '23, Julia Nadolski '23, Elisia Pagliuca ’21, Amanda Ross '21, Lindsay Stevenson '20, Madeleine Thompson ’21, Lillian Wimler ’21.
The project is a team-effort fueled by the Mercy spirit. At home, each student is taking care of a specific task to make all the parts of the project work, such as making Caring cards, writing Thank-You notes, coloring the "A Butterfly of Love" mandalas, dropping off the packages.
At Mercy the saying is, “The Circle of Mercy is Timeless.” This project is proof. Emilee Apuzzo ’20 works at Big Y supermarket in Guilford, CT. Needing a face mask to wear, she saw the Butterfly of Love boxes on the counter in her department. When she asked her supervisor where they came from, the reply was, “Some girls from Mercy dropped them off.” That is the Spirit of Mercy and the reason the Circle is Timeless. The butterflies helped a friend, a classmate, a Women of Mercy who is working to help the community at large.
By visiting the project’s website online, people can request the donation of care packages to places in need. Lujambio noted, “We have raised enough money for about 2,500 3-ply FDA and EU approved masks to be donated. We are waiting on more masks; by request of some donors, we have started including some local business gift cards as well.” Donors are asked which message they would like sent out to patients/workers and those messages are included in the cards. Each package includes a label saying: While we are apart, we still have each other. “Residents and patients are isolated or with minimum interaction, so our butterflies of love are bringing a bit of hope and love. For front-line workers, especially in healthcare, our cards bring in a token of gratitude and appreciation for all they are doing”. While they rely mainly on word-of-mouth, the response has been tremendous. The group has delivered 1875 face masks and 605 encouragement and thank you cards. Their list is growing. One alumna sent in a request to the Advancement Office at Mercy High School seeking donations, and within hours, the butterflies accepted the request and began working on the donation for an assisted living center in Middletown.
Some of the local recipients that have been receiving care packages include: the Columbus House shelters in New Haven, Wallingford, Middlesex counties (which are now operating from hotels); Whitney Rehabilitation Care Center, Hamden; Albert J. Solnit Psychiatric Children’s Center, Middletown; Poet Seat Health Center; Middlesex Hospital ICU, Middletown; Middletown Police Department; St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen, Middletown; Master’s Manna Food Pantry, Wallingford; Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven; COVID Shelter One, New Haven; Town of Wallingford employees; and area food/grocery stores and frontline workers.
Lujambio added, “We are being very careful with our drop-off/pick-ups by following distance requirements, wearing masks, using gloves, washing hands. It takes a bit of coordination and we are trying to be contact-less to enforce the staying six feet apart requirement. Our parents, teachers, and alumnae have helped us with deliveries, too.”
The statement on the About Us page of the website says it all:
We are group of young women joined by the Circle of Mercy.
We are current Mercy High School students joined to continue the works of Mercy our community inspires.
This virus does not stop the love and care for others. Our group wants to assure people can have the protection and support needed to continue taking care of others in challenging positions.
Depending upon the recipient and the existing enforced regulations, a care package may include a combination of these items: disposable 3-ply face masks, Care Cards including personal messages for patients and/or workers, Butterflies of Love mandalas (colored by hand), gift cards to local businesses, and personalized cards and messages requested by donors. To purchase, donate or request a care package or donation, visit https://abutterflyoflove.wixsite.com/abutterflyoflove. The group has been posting online updates at their Instagram account @AButterflyofLove.
“We are so appreciative of your efforts and caring with your donation of masks and cards for our healthcare team at the Solnit Children’s Center in Middletown. All our frontline workers are so grateful for your compassion and prayers during COVID-19. Forever Mercy Strong.”
~RN’s Nisha T. and Krista Annino Santagata ’92, mother to Brayden ‘23