Making sure Santa finds every senior

Mitch MacDonald
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There was a lot of Christmas wrapping strewn around Saturday as gifts for seniors were wrapped at the Murphy Community Centre in Charlottetown.

Sometimes it can be tough for Santa to find those who are living alone at Christmas time.

Which is why a group of volunteers have gone out of their way to make sure every senior living by themselves in the province has a gift to open this year.

The "Be a Santa to a Senior" program, created by Home Instead Senior Care, saw a group wrapping up Christmas presents at Murphy's Community Centre Saturday morning to be delivered later this month.

In it's seventh year, organizer David McMillan said the event has seen gifts bought for hundreds of seniors this year alone.

"Each and every year it's been a fabulous turnout," he said, noting the program spread this year to Alberton, Tignish, Bloomfield Corner and Montague. "There was a great response."

The program allowed individuals to take an ornament off of Home Instead Christmas trees at Murphy's pharmacies and other partner organizations across the province.

Those ornaments had a senior's first name, as well as their gift requests, such as socks, a book or board game.

Once purchased, individuals could leave return the gifts unwrapped to the same location.

McMillan said receiving a gift at Christmas is something many appreciate.

"It just puts a smile on their faces," he said. "They enjoy the companionship aspect too."

Mother and daughter duo Anne and Heather Boswall are two volunteers who have made wrapping gifts for the program as much as a tradition as Christmas itself.

"I've been coming ever since it started," said Anne. "I've got my daughter to come with me the past few years. We just like Christmas, we like to help people."

Heather said the two felt that everyone deserves to have a present at Christmas.

"It's nice to know that they're able to open something," she said. "If they don't have any family, this might be their only gift."

With the program growing every year, McMillan said it wouldn't be possible without overwhelming support from the community.

"It shows how generous and caring people are," he said.

Organizations: Home Instead Senior Care

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