By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember
By now, PuzzlesToRemember has provided close to 5,000 puzzles to facilities located throughout all 50 states, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.
Originally, I personally delivered all puzzles myself to each facility. Then, I began applying for small grants to help with the cost of shipping puzzles. Several corporations, including Stop and Shop, Harvard Pilgrim Health, and DoSomething (American Express) all provided small grants for this purpose.
After some time, I also took on the role of a “puzzle broker”. People and companies called me with puzzles to donate. I then researched facilities in their areas, and I arranged for them to deliver the puzzles to Alzheimer’s facilities near where they lived. I derived great satisfaction from this role. Everyone was happy: surplus puzzles found their way to where they were really used and needed.
A few weeks ago, I decided to, once again, deliver puzzles personally. I guess I was missing the satisfying personal interaction that often takes place when I deliver puzzles. I set out, with a car full of puzzles, to Western Massachusetts. I had a list of about 6 facilities that I planned to deliver puzzles to.
After delivering to the first three, I kept noticing additional facilities along the route. For instance, there was a veteran’s care facility that I had been unaware of. I stopped, and I delivered puzzles there. Then, I happened to pass the Applewood facility in Amherst MA. It was a large facility, and I decided to bring the remaining puzzles there.
The staff at Applewood was very welcoming. I spent about 20 minutes there. It was obviously a good facility, quite clean, with a caring staff. It let me relive the feeling of seeing how much good the puzzles can do. By surprise, a few days after I returned home, I received a thank you note and a check for $25 from Applewood. I had never even suggested that they make any donation, but their generosity will provide shipping funds for puzzles to other facilities.
Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.