Utah couple brings people together with puzzle exchange


NATIONAL (CBS NEWSPATH) – Supply has not caught up with demand on many goods and services in the U.S., leading to higher prices on most everything. But there’s one retirement community in southern Utah that won’t ever have to buy a puzzle again.

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Lindy and Rob Hilton created the Sunriver Community Puzzle Exchange – and the couple’s garage is the place to be on the second Monday of every month. “It’s like the blue light special at Walmart. There’s a line of people just buzzing in as fast as they can, making sure that they get the puzzles that they want,” Lindy says.

With puzzle shortages online and in stories during the pandemic, the Hilton’s exchange was just the right fit for seniors who needed to stay close to home. “You need things to take your mind away from everything else and puzzling does that,” Lindy says.

The exchange has grown from 27 puzzles to more than 700. They’re organized by the number of pieces, the manufacturer, and themes like nature, food, and high art. The Hiltons have a separate stash of holiday puzzles that they circulate in November and December.

There are puzzles for visiting grandchildren and for one member’s wife who has dementia. “Sometimes she doesn’t even know who he is, but she knows how to put a piece in the puzzle,” Lindy says.

Rob is also the resident missing piece doctor. “They’d bring back the pieces that surround that missing piece, so I have a pattern to go by,” he says.

Using small cutting tools and paint, Rob recreates the missing pieces. A labor of love for one purpose. “It’s just another thing to bring people together, no matter what their views are,” Rob says.

“We’ve connected friends together that actually would have never even met each other,” Lindy says. The Hiltons are interlocking their community, one piece at a time.

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