'Be a Santa to a Senior' program aims to spread joy
A London organization is doing its best to ensure seniors aren't forgotten during this season of giving.
The 'Be a Santa to a Senior' program is back for a sixth year, and gives Londoners a chance to give back.
Victoria Chalmers at Home Instead Senior Care, which runs the program, says, "Sometimes you don't always think about the seniors in our community...Just visiting with a senior who doesn't get any visitors is enough to make their week, so when they receive a gift it just brightens up their day."
The organization has teamed up with local businesses that have agreed to display paper ornaments on their trees. Each ornament has a code number and then the gender of the senior and a list of items they would like for Christmas.
"And people don't have to spend a huge amount of money," Chalmers says, "$20 can get a great gift for somebody."
As part of a company fundraising initiative, employees from EMCO London cleared the tree at Airport KIA of all of its ornaments.
EMCO employee Kim Fraser says, "These are folks that maybe don't have anyone left in their lives that can go out and get them a gift and they just want small things, so I think it's so important for us as a community to bring them some joy at Christmas."
There are a little over 300 seniors registered in the program, from various nursing homes across the city and organizations like the Alzheimer Society.
"Some of our clients who are in financial need, or the caregivers, and some who have dementia, may not have the capability to go out and shop, they may not have the time or the finances and Christmas can also be a very lonely time," explains Betsy Little, CEO of the Alzheimer Society.
Once all the gifts have been purchased the organization and participating partners will get together on Dec. 15 for a huge wrapping party, then the gifts are distributed to the recipients around Christmas
There are a few days left to help out, but any ornaments remaining
There are only six days left to help out and purchase a gift, but of course even if any ornaments remain, that person won't be forgotten.
"We have a list of those ornaments that have not been returned, and then there are some special elves that go out and purchase the gifts," Chalmers says.