2-18 Valentine's Cards 1.jpg

Last week, 10 year-old Ava Gabbard, a fourth-grade student at Roy G. Eversole Elementary School, donated Valentine’s Day cards to several nursing homes and other locations throughout the area.

A local student helped spread the love on Valentine’s Day this year by donating Valentine’s Day cards and sweet treats to every resident in area nursing homes and other facilities.

Becky Gabbard, the mother of Ava Gabbard, 10, a fourth-grade student at Roy G. Eversole Elementary School, said prior to Valentine’s Day her daughter wanted to do something special for a local nursing home and began making hand-made cards and collecting cards and other goodies to deliver to the facility. “She hoped to gather cards for the Hazard Nursing Home — her grandmother and great-grandmother were both residents there — so she had set out for 175 (cards),” Becky said.

After word got out about Ava’s endeavor, Becky said, the community stepped up to help, allowing Ava to donate cards to all the residents of the Hazard Nursing Home, along with residents of several other facilities. Rudy’s Bakery donated cupcakes to the Hazard Nursing Home and Ava’s youth group at Hazard First Baptist Church provided cupcakes to the EKVC, Becky said. Friends and family members made treat bags of candy for donations, she said.

“The response was overwhelming. She received almost 700 cards,” said Becky. In total, Becky said, Ava gathered enough to give to all residents of the Hazard Nursing Home, all of the residents at the Paul E. Patton Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center, to every resident at the Gorman Tower and the Perkins Tower, and then had enough to provide cards to the nursing homes in Hyden and in Knott counties with some leftover.

Becky said the response to what Ava was hoping to achieve left her daughter, and her family, feeling overwhelmed and grateful. Stepping out to do something like this, said Becky, was out of the norm for Ava.  

“Ava is a child that we don’t sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to; she does not play sports, she doesn’t want any attention brought on her — there were a couple of years she wouldn’t even dress up for Halloween,” said Becky. “This is definitely something out of her comfort zone.”

Becky said she is proud of what her daughter accomplished.

“I love it. I love that she’s got a big heart,” said Gabbard. “Her dad and I are very proud of her not only for having a big heart and spreading kindness and love, but also for just stepping out and bringing awareness to it, because for her that was big.”

Ava, Becky said, hopes to try collecting more cards next year.