Full of cheer

(L to R) Lincoln High School 11th grader Dana Fehr gives a small gift bag to a resident of the Riverview Home. The students have been doing this annually for about 15 years.

Kevin Cook / for the Times

The kids were back last week, and Joanne Goldman was glad to see them.

“We like visits,” she said.

Goldman, who resides at the city’s Riverview Home on State Road, was glad to see about a dozen Lincoln High School students come calling midmorning on Dec. 28

It’s great to see the young people; they’re not the same faces she sees all the time, although she recognized a few who came during the holidays last year.

“They’re always excited to see kids our age,” said Amir Albarouki, 18, the student association president.

Besides, the students bring gifts.

John Larsen, the school’s student association sponsor, said the teens collect hand soap, dental products, body lotions, slippers, socks, mittens and gloves that they distribute to residents. Larsen and art teacher Amanda Odenwelder accompanied the students last week.

Dana Fehr, 16, said the student association starts collecting items for gift bags in November. They put out collection bins in the school to make it easy for students to contribute.

The response from the student body was great. This was the student association’s most successful year, Albarouki said.

The big gifts, though, are the blankets handmade by school aide Madeline Gentry, Larsen said. She made 13 for residents, a job that takes all year, beginning again as soon as the blankets are distributed, Larsen said.

To say that the blankets are popular with Riverview residents wouldn’t really say it all. They’re very welcome gifts, the students said.

“Some hide it and come back for more,” said a smiling Pamela Guzman, 17, student association vice president.

Lincoln students have made yearly visits to Riverview for about 15 years, Larsen said. In that time, there was a three-year gap after a teacher who organized the trip retired, but the visits resumed in 2005, Larsen said.

Tammy Harrity, Riverview’s recreation leader, said the home has 92 residents, but only a handful are away during the holidays. There were plenty of smiles when the students came bearing gifts.

Just spending some time with them is as valuable as the gifts, the students said.

Some of the students are involved in the annual collection and visits year after year. Last week was Albarouki’s third year. It was the second for Guzman and Fehr.

Even graduation doesn’t end that commitment.

Grad Geethu Pallikkathayil was one of three alums who participated last week. It was her fourth year.

“I just loved helping out,” she said. “It just makes you happy.” ••