Local residents encouraged to be a Santa to a senior this holiday

Christmas Parcel, © Can Stock Photo / dolgachov

A local charity is once again encouraging Chatham-Kent residents to make this holiday season special for seniors who may be feeling isolated.

Santa for Seniors is launching its Christmas charity program for the third year in a row.

It’s a project that was inspired by many other food and gift drives that took place in Chatham-Kent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These past few years have been particularly challenging for so many people in our community, and there have been lots of great ways to help with these challenges,” said Dava Robichaud, who is the co-organizer of Santa for Seniors. “Isolation is another challenge, especially for seniors, and we hope to brighten their day with some gifts and cards from every corner of Chatham-Kent.”

Robichaud is encouraging individuals and families to again write holiday cards and pack gifts for seniors before all cards and gifts are delivered the week before Christmas.

“Let’s come together as a community to send out as many cards and gifts to our senior population as we can,” said Robichaud. “If you’d like to contribute, spend some time this weekend with your family and have some fun writing cards and putting together gift boxes.”

More than five thousand greeting cards and a little over 800 gifts were sent to local seniors in the program’s first year. Last year, the charity collected over 1,300 gifts and 3,500 greeting cards.

“With 2,000 seniors living in retirement and nursing homes, and hundreds more living on their own, we’d like each to get a greeting card and gift this year,” said Emmalee Longbottom, who is also a co-organizer.

According to Longbottom,  items that can go into the gift boxes include toiletries, cookies, tea, puzzles, hats, gloves, and other stationery items.

If you don’t have an empty box, you can pick one up at the TekSavvy Security Kiosk at 800 Richmond Street or at the Chatham-Kent Non-Profit Centre at 425 McNaughton Ave West in Chatham.

Boxes can be returned unwrapped to either location. Organizers and volunteers will be sanitizing all gifts before boxes are wrapped.

Boxes and cards will be safely distributed to all retirement and nursing homes, as well as be included in all Meals on Wheels deliveries in Chatham-Kent.

Boxes and cards will be accepted until Friday, December 16, 2022.