Sorting through “truckloads” of gifts delivered for senior residents of the Evergreen Baptist campus, Michelle Krahn was overwhelmed with emotion.
“I cried,” the longtime recreation co-ordinator for the Evergreen Heights assisted living building said this week.
“I’ve been doing my job for many years and I’ve never had this type of generosity before for our residents. It’s just unbelievable. This will have a great impact. I need the community to know how thankful we are… how special they all are.”
Some 250 packages of holiday cheer – containing everything from blankets and vitamins to chocolates, puzzles and even personalized cards – were delivered to the Oxford Street campus last week, through London Drugs’ Stocking Stuffers for Seniors program.
The program invited community members to pick up a senior’s Christmas wish list from among tags with the information on display at London Drugs, and then purchase and donate the items for distribution over the holiday.
The initiative has benefited thousands of seniors since launching in 2015, and officials say this year’s response has been the best yet, with more than 400 gifts collected locally.
Krahn said the connection is something she has “desperately” wanted to create for Evergreen seniors in past years, but had neither the time or manpower to make it happen.
“This year again it was the same thing. We’ve been all just so overwhelmed with work,” she said.
So when a London Drugs official called with news that gifts were available, Krahn didn’t hesitate.
“I said yes, please,” she said. “We have over 400 seniors on our campus. When I told her our numbers, she said, ‘I’m going to make more happen for you.’ And then they just kept coming by the truckloads.”
The gifts were quarantined for a few days and sorting got underway Wednesday (Dec. 16). Krahn said she expects she and her co-workers will surprise the residents with them on Christmas Day.
And while the focus of the gesture is to brighten the holiday for seniors, Krahn said staff also gain from it.
“It’s like when you just know how much they’re going through in being removed from society and from families, and then for us as staff to see the community reach out to our residents is just so meaningful,” she explained.
“They’ve become our family, too, and so when you see the joy in them, in our residents, then the joy just abounds in full to our staff as well.”
Evergreen wasn’t the only local residence to receive gifts.
Others to benefit included White Rock Seniors Village. Community relations manager Si Cussen said long-term care residents at the Maple Street facility were “over the moon” to receive the “beautiful assortment” of items.
Cussen described the gesture as “An Early Christmas testament to the love and support of White Rock South Surrey families.” She, too, shared a heartfelt thank-you to those who donated.
“Your generosity, love, and support brought many, many smiles to our residents,” she said.
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