The reaction was witnessed by Colten Care Activities Organiser Julia Puia, who included the gifts in packages of clothing, toiletries and food she personally shipped and delivered.
Julia, who works at the family-owned provider’s Lymington home, Court Lodge, was born and brought up in the small village of Stremt in the Transylvanian region of Alba Iulia.
The 21-year-old was on a visit there two years ago and vowed to help the plight of a nearby orphanage where around 17 children in poverty, some of them siblings, are looked after by a local priest.
Julia, who came to live in England when she was 11, said: “It was the first time I had seen the orphanage and I really wanted to do something to help. They are poor souls, with few toys or comforts. ”
In the run-up to a recent return visit, Julia invited residents at Court Lodge to make and decorate book marks to help with the children’s reading.
She put the gifts in parcels along with other essential items she sourced with help from her mother Daniela Buzatu, Head of Care at Colten Care’s Woodpeckers home in Brockenhurst. Each package was addressed with the name of one of the children.
Julia said: “The children are aged from three to 20 years old. They do have some books in the orphanage and they are encouraged to read so I thought bookmarks would be a lovely idea for a gift. Every little thing helps. The Court Lodge residents were very happy to make them from scratch as part of their arts and crafts activities.
“When I returned to the orphanage this time, I told the children the bookmarks were sent from England and were handmade just for them. They were completely surprised and delighted. They simply couldn’t believe that a group of elderly people in England had taken the time and care to do this.”
Julia added: “It was brilliant to see their faces light up. This is the best thing I’ve ever done.”