RI woman who lost mom to COVID honors her memory by collecting gifts for nursing home residents

West Bay

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Christmas was Honey Hartman’s favorite holiday.

That’s why her daughter is honoring her mom’s memory by collecting gifts for residents of the nursing home where she once lived.

“I figured those people were so isolated, the people she shared time with up there,” Rhonda Ellman said. “Nobody was visiting because they weren’t allowed and I had to do something.”

Ellman tells 12 News her mother died in March 2020 after contracting COVID-19. She’s one of more than 3,000 Rhode Islanders who have lost their lives to the virus.

After successfully collecting dozens of gifts for nursing home residents last year, Ellman decided she wanted to do it all again.

“It’s just a beautiful thing and it makes my heart happy,” she said. “There’s nothing more important this time of year than giving.”

Ellman kept her mother’s memory alive Monday by delivering this year’s round of gifts to the West Shore Health Center.

“I try to find the positive, like my mom, in every situation because these are tough times,” Ellman said. “You can either curl up and cry and be in a ball, or you can live your best day. We are going to live our best day … that’s all we can do.”

Ellman said she plans on keeping the tradition by collecting gifts for residents annually.

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