As Christmas approaches, the non- profit group Seniors Secret Service is looking to ensure no one is left out of celebrations come Dec. 25.
The organization works with more than 150 care agencies in communities including Airdrie, Cochrane and Chestermere, and as far away as Didsbury and Claresholm, who refer seniors who would benefit from the program. The seniors are matched with a Secret Santa, Brumwell said, who receives a list of gift ideas for their particular person. After purchasing the gifts, Seniors Secret Service delivers the presents to the care agencies that ensure each senior receives the anonymous gifts in time for Christmas.
Airdrie’s London Drugs, the main location outside of Calgary, has partnered with Seniors Secret Service to collect items that will help spread cheer to isolated seniors.
“We support seniors in Calgary and all the surrounding rural communities who are 60 years of age and older, who maybe don’t have family or a support system in place and would really benefit from a gift at Christmas,” said Andrea Brumwell executive director of Senior Secret Service.
According to Brumwell, the holidays can be an isolating time for many seniors, who may not have family to share festivities with.
“I think seniors are often kind of forgotten,” she said. “They’re a huge, growing population…and it just seems like a population that is sometimes overlooked.
“It’s horrible to be lonely, but it’s even worse during the holidays.”
This year, more than 5,500 seniors will receive gift thanks to the organization, she added.
While the Secret Santa program has already paired seniors with gift-givers – registration closed in September, Brumwell said – many seniors are referred to the organization late. In order to make sure everyone gets a gift, Seniors Secret Service has partnered with London Drugs for the Stocking Stuffers for Seniors campaign.
“Folks don’t stop coming into the program just because our registration closed,” she said. “They may not get adopted through the regular process, but we still want to make sure they receive a really nice gift.”
According to Dan Do, assistant store manager at Airdrie’s London Drugs, a tree is currently set up at the store with gift tags listing items such as toiletries, gift sets, books, magazines, blankets, bathrobes, candy, chocolate and board games. Anyone wanting to participate in the campaign can grab a tag, purchase the listed items, and drop off the unwrapped gifts at the Customer Service desk by Dec. 16.
As members of a community with an aging population, Do said the staff at London Drugs want to give back, and the campaign resonates with people because everyone has family or friends that are seniors.
“We’re reminded that there are seniors who have no one, and it really compels you to do something,” he said. “Small gifts can show seniors they haven’t been forgotten and that someone cares, and that we can all make a difference during the holidays.”
For more information, visit londondrugs.com/stocking-stuffers-for-seniors.html