A family who gives back together makes a difference in their community. The Munnerlyns sewed 80 medical masks for health care workers, made cards for hospice patients, gave care baskets to workers in hospitals and assorted care packages for nurses and residents in nursing facilities.

Nicole Munnerlyn, a community relations manager for Homestead Hospice, noticed how challenging everything was for hospice patients during the coronavirus pandemic. Numerous nursing facilities across the country have prohibited visitors, including family, from entering their facilities.

“They are used to having people come see them all the time. When this happened, they got really confused,” Munnerlyn said.

One of the nursing facilities that Munnerlyn frequently visited asked her if she would mind having her kids make cards to brighten up the residents’ day, the mother of four responded, “Of course. My kids would love to do that.”

Munnerlyn’s son, Max, and daughters, Aubrey Kate and Margaret, sat down and began coloring the cards. While coloring, she talked to her children about the importance of giving back during this world crisis. Aubrey Kate, Margaret and Max attend Cambridge Academy, which was asked to close by Gov. Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Independent School Association earlier in the month. Because Cambridge was closed, Munnerlyn used the time with her kids as an educational lesson.

The Munnerlyns soon began sewing masks and making care packages for nurses containing water bottles, granola bars, candy, hand sanitizer, pens and pads. The care package for nursing home residents contained crossword puzzle books, puzzles and bingo prizes because facilities are currently allowing limited access to residents’ rooms. The care basket for hospital workers included “pick me up snacks,” such as nuts and chips because they are constantly on the move.

“A lot of things have changed and everybody has adapted to doing things differently,” Munnerlyn said. “It takes a whole community to come together to make things like this work for everybody.”

Homestead Hospice gave the Munnerlyns money to put the care packages together and posted pictures of the family making the masks, cards and care packages. The pictures were shared with Mandy Price, Cambridge Academy’s director of student affairs, who honored the Munnerlyn children with the Virtual Cougar Pride Award.

“Mandy thought that was a great contribution to the community and it shows that they were going above and beyond to help the community in these difficult times,” said Lori Anne Tunstall Hagood, Cambridge University’s head of school.

Munnerlyn is also a part of a group of health care professionals that meets every Wednesday and discusses how they can plug resources into the community. The group is looking to plug resources into organizations, such as Meals on Wheels, the Upper Savannah Agency and the Piedmont Agency on Aging. The number of ways the group can contribute has been limited because of the coronavirus pandemic, but they are “trying to work outside the box.”

“Really seeing a little community like Greenwood come together has shown me that even in a time like this that we really live in a good place,” Munnerlyn said.

Contact reporter Jonathan Limehouse at 864-943-5644 or follow him on Twitter @jon_limehouse.