BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The residents of Autumn Lake Healthcare at Berkeley Heights received a heartwarming abundance of love that would warm anybody's heart in what has been 10 months of isolation for many of these long term care residents since the onset of the pandemic. 

It started when local business owner Chris Tribuna of Balloon Design Studio gave the community an opportunity to join the national Adopt a Grandparent movement by sponsoring a "Balloon Buddy" for a local senior citizen. The popularity of this movement was proven when the 70 available sponsorships sold out within 24 hours.

"Imagine not being able to see your family or friends for months? That’s how many of the residents in our local assisted living and nursing homes feel," he said. "We aim to bring them some serious joy with the power of balloons!"

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Cathy Balsamo of Autumn Lake Healthcare said her phone lit up with support of this sponsorship opportunity. "My friend in Florida wanted to support our residents and it had already sold out. So, Chris provided me a balloon contact in Florida, and my friend is starting the movement in Florida."  

This national movement among balloon artists started in the Midwest and "we want to keep this going," said Tribuna.

Aside from bringing precious smiles to the residents of Autumn Lake, Balsamo loved how the "Adopt a Grandparent" movement quickly brought the community together while helping a business. "If we don't help each other, we're done," said Balsamo. 

"The outpouring of support from our community has been really overwhelming. We all feel so lucky to be a part," said Ben Basch, Autumn Lake Healthcare Administrator.

Helping a small business survive + spreading joy in the community = a win-win! 

Autumn Lake Healthcare at Berkeley Heights is located at 35 Cottage Street in Berkeley Heights. Visit their website