Despite the pandemic, spreading holiday cheer was a gratifying joy for Random Acts’ Assistant Writing Manager, Dreana Ferguson, when collecting and donating gift baskets to Mercy House.


For those unfamiliar, Mercy House of the Southern Tier is a community care shelter supporting individuals nearing the end of their lives. At Mercy House, staff and volunteers provide residents with 24-hour care in private bedrooms. Typically this care includes home-cooked meals. In addition, the facility is local to Dreana’s home in New York.

Without a doubt, Mercy House was especially in need of charitable donations and community support in the face of COVID-19. Given that Mercy House’s residents are terminally ill, they are at higher risk for catching the virus. As a result, their communal dining room is going unused. This leaves families hard-pressed to create a special Christmas dinner — one that may be their last holiday meal together.


After performing a holiday act in 2018 that also supported Mercy House, Dreana felt drawn to revisit their needs again this year. Therefore, she reached out to confirm what that help looks like in the midst of a pandemic.

Image of a platter of Christmas cookies with red and green sprinkles, a bag of oranges, and an assortment of boxed food goods.Thereafter, Dreana shopped online at three grocery stores before donning her mask, gloves, and thick winter coat for curbside pick-up. During her expeditions, Dreana collected an assortment of goodies for her six huge gift baskets (one basket for each resident). Examples of her many purchases for each gift basket included:

  • Bottled water, juice, and shelf-stable milk
  • Cookies, crackers, peanuts, and other snacks
  • Coffee, cocoa, and tea packets
  • Mashed potato and macaroni and cheese cups

After filling out a personalized Christmas card for each resident, Dreana was ready to make her way to Mercy House.


“I cry every time I walk into Mercy House. Tears of grief for patients and families; tears of gratitude for staff; and even tears of joy seeing people make the world a better place,” said Dreana.

As expected, Dreana underwent a health screening before she was admitted to drop off her gift baskets in a designated, quarantined location. While practicing social distancing, she carried in her goodies and was greeted with a warm welcome from staff.

Although Dreana did not interact with patients and families, Mercy House’s team thanked her for her support and assured her Image of Dreana wearing a red hat with a fuzzy topknot, a red jacket, and a green/teal mask standing next to the dark wood table laden with gift baskets and assorted food items.that these donations will allow patients and their families to focus on what matters to them right now. Overall, these gift baskets lessened the stress and grief these families are experiencing and will bring smiles to their faces during a difficult time.

Together with your support, Random Acts funded Dreana’s act, undoubtedly spreading holiday cheer to those who are living out the last of their days comfortably surrounded by family, staff, and volunteers.

Although the holidays are near and dear to our hearts, there is never a better time than the present to support your local community. Without a doubt, Random Acts staff remain dedicated to our mission to spread kindness across the globe all year round.

Random Acts staff members are proud to serve communities across the globe by performing a wide range of kindness acts such as senior care, natural disaster, and food security initiatives.

As we move beyond the holidays, you can help us spread kindness all over the world by learning about the programs we offer or making a donation. Without your support, these acts would not be possible!