Spruce Grove woman collects used phones and tablets to connect seniors

A Spruce Grove, Alta., woman is teaming up with Edmonton businesses to collect donated tablets and phones to help seniors stay in touch with their families during the pandemic.

Project Joy delivered a dozen devices to one seniors' residence and is looking for more

Emily Jenks said she created Project Joy after a discussion with her children about how to help others during the pandemic. (Submitted by Emily Jenks)

A Spruce Grove, Alta., woman is teaming up with Edmonton businesses to collect donated tablets and phones to help seniors stay in touch with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emily Jenks started Project Joy, named after her grandmother, after she and her three children talked about ways to help others, such as seniors separated from their families.

"Wouldn't it be great to connect those devices sitting in a drawer or going to a landfill, with some people that could really use it," Jenks said.

A public health order has banned visitors from long-term care centres in Alberta since April 7, in order to protect residents and staff from COVID-19.

The Copper Sky Lodge in Spruce Grove houses 134 seniors, according to Joannie Robertson, manager of recreational therapy at the lodge.

"Probably 95 per cent of our residents do not have cellphones, iPads or iPods," Robertson said.

Last week, Jenks delivered a dozen devices to the lodge. 

"It was very satisfactory for the families, who really are the ones that are worried, more than the residents," Robertson said.

Copper Sky Lodge in Spruce Grove is the first seniors' residence to receive used tablets and cellphones from Project Joy. (Park Place Seniors Living)

Jenks is receiving some help from Edmonton-based businesses in her bid to help more seniors and their families.

Rapid Boost Marketing joined the project to develop a website, while RJ Systems, a tech solutions provider, is setting up the devices and developing easy-to-follow instructions for the care facilities and seniors.

Project Joy is working to fill orders for two more care centres. It's also creating a secure drop-off location for donations.

"We're in Edmonton, but people all over the province could really use this, or all over the country," Jenks said.


Travis McEwan

Video journalist

Travis McEwan is a video journalist who covers stories ranging from human interest and sports to municipal and provincial issues. Originally from Churchill, Man., Travis has spent the last decade working at CBC Edmonton reporting for web, radio and television. Email story ideas to travis.mcewan@cbc.ca.


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