The Santa for Seniors campaign is back for a fourth year with the goal to connect with every senior in Chatham-Kent who may be spending the holidays lonely and isolated.
Santa for Seniors was inspired by many other food and gift drives that took place in Chatham-Kent because of COVID, said organizers.
“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 co-organizer Dava Robichaud in a media release. “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 write holiday cards and pack gifts once again for seniors before all cards and gifts are delivered the week before Christmas.
“Let’s come together again as a community to send out as many cards and gifts to our senior population as we can,” she said. “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.”
The community came together in 2020 to provide more than 5,800 greeting cards and just over 800 gifts for local seniors, said co-organizer Emmalee Longbottom.
A total of 3,150 gifts and 3,500 greets cards were collected over the following two years, she added.
“With 2,000 seniors living in retirement and nursing homes, and hundreds more living on their own, we’d like each senior to get a greeting card and gift this year,” Longbottom said.
Suggested items that can go in the boxes are: toiletries, cookies, tea, puzzles, hats, gloves, stationery, and other small gifts.
For those who don’t have an empty box, one can be picked up at the TekSavvy Security Kiosk at 800 Richmond St., in Chatham.
“Boxes can be returned unwrapped, and our team of volunteer elves will take care of the rest,” Longbottom said.
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, and cards will be included in all Meals on Wheels deliveries in Chatham-Kent.
Boxes and cards will be accepted until Friday, Dec. 15.
Some fundraising events are being held to support the initiative. A Boston Pizza fundraiser is being held Nov. 22 from 11 am to 1 pm and steak barbecue fundraiser is being held at the Imperial Club in Chatham Nov. 24, beginning with a social at 5 pm and dinner at 6 pm Tickets are limited for this event, said organizers.
For more information on these events, or to support Santa for Seniors, email [email protected]. Updates about Santa for Seniors can be found at facebook.com/santaforseniorsck.