Downers Grove's Oak Trace Senior Living hosts 'Hearts & Heroes' program for Valentine's Day

The call went out for "a few good volunteers," and the community resoundingly responded.

Oak Trace senior living community in Downers Grove initiated its "Hearts & Heroes" program earlier this month. Jackie Raschke, the supervisor of lifestyles, launched the initiative, explaining that it is a way to make military members receive a token of love and appreciation for Valentine's Day.

"There are so many people volunteering during the winter holidays. I wanted to keep the momentum going. This gave us a good opportunity to keep volunteering and giving back," she said. Over the course of several weeks, items were collected by residents, their family members, staff, and area students. These individuals also created beautiful Valentine's Day cards to accompany gift packages that will be sent to military service people.

Items collected included small board games, reading and writing materials, travel-sized toiletries, socks and more. Monetary donations were also gratefully accepted to defray the cost of postage.

A special family night and visiting students from Lake View Junior High School were hosted at Oak Trace to decorate and pack the boxes. Approximately two dozen care packages were assembled and will be mailed this week.

Raschke said that she had sought the names of potential recipients from the residents and the greater community. She added that with several packages to spare, she'd welcome the names of a few more active military personnel who are away from home, to receive a bit of love.

To request that a Valentine's Day care package be sent to an active member of the military, contact

Oak Trace senior living community in Downers Grove is set on more than 40 acres of landscaped grounds featuring gardens, walking paths, ponds and abundant greenspace. Oak Trace has private independent living apartments, as well as assisted living, memory care, skilled care and rehabilitation. The Life Care Community offers guaranteed lifelong care with predictable costs. Oak Trace is owned by Lifespace, a not-for-profit organization with more than 45 years of experience in senior living. To learn more about Oak Trace, visit

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