A Salem family has been making a difference in the community through kind gestures for years. Since 2014, Traci Hartberger and her grandchildren have been making blankets, burp clothes as well as cards and taking them to the Carilion Children’s Hospital and other places. They have also created handmade signs and given them to police officers, nurses and other city employees to show appreciation for all that they do.
“Everyone needs to open their hearts, give and smile to all and take the time to make someone’s day. Love and gratitude can go such a long way but it starts with a decision and that choice can have an immeasurable impact,” she said.
People need to know what they do matters, Hartberger noted, no matter how big or small they are perceived to be. If we look out and be there for each other, she added, we can show positivity in the community and it will spread.
Hartberger and all of her grandchildren annually give angel ornaments on Christmas Eve at Snyder’s Nursing Home in Salem too.
“It is such a joy to watch the seniors react to getting a gift because they are so appreciative and loving. The grandkids always come home saying how good they felt giving them,” she said. “It is important to teach our children to do for others. If they see someone who may need help at a store loading groceries, help them. Do not take money for being kind.”
Hartberger added, “It is nice to know someone cares about you and does not expect anything in return. There is not enough kindness in the world today. We wanted to say ‘thank you’ to those who have been here from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and to let them know we love and appreciate them. We are just getting started. We have much more to do.”
Born in Washington, D.C., Hartberger moved to Salem with her family when she was three. She has called the city home ever since.