Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunshine for Seniors

Every year, I want to do more, help more, during the year but more so during the Christmas season. Usually I end up giving money and not doing any actual 'work' because I don't know what to do. But now now that I have kids, I really want to do things with them, let them see that there are those in need, let them know what it feels like to help others.

We took part in Operation Christmas Child this year, and that was great. Our group completed over 120 shoe boxes. My boys took part in the packing party. But still, they didn't "get it". The boxes were filled and shipped "somewhere". At 5 they are too young to totally get it without seeing who is getting the 'gift'. 

I thought about our neighborhood. Then I saw this video about seniors in our neighborhood and cried. 

I wanted to do something for these people. I couldn't solve poverty but I could help put together some stockings for some of the locals. I mentioned it to some friends in a lunch time DNA group. Two were going to GNH that day and said they would ask if they knew a local group or event. And wham, did they ever! When I heard that there was going to be a Christmas lunch for 120 seniors at first I balked then I remembered I'm not alone in this. 

Presenting the first (and likely not last) Sunshine for Seniors

Kids will sing while handing out the stockings; this will help bridge the gap between two age groups often pitted against each other for community space and resources. It is also going to give a face to the work the kids are doing in putting these stockings together.

The stockings need to be stuffed with valuable items such as gift cards, lotions, and handmade items that seniors will use. We have brainstormed some things like
  • Fun/Traditional: chocolates, hard candies, mandarin oranges, candles, small ornaments
  • Practical: slippers, gloves, socks, soaps, I've got between 120 and 180 Avon items including lip balm, hand cream, lotion, perfume etc.
  • Handmade: anything! We had this amazing donation of over 60 items has already come in 
  • Giftcards: grocery and coffee places. We are not going to solve the poverty problem but we can help with the loneliness. For example, McDonalds has a seniors coffee, free refills and the ones by us don't enforce the time limit. To us a coffee is a way to get through the morning, to a senior its a way to be less lonely, to meet friends, make friends and just get out of the apartment for a couple of hours.
  • Cards: We're hoping to get 120 handmade cards, or at least hand colored by kids cards!
We've had enough donations come in to buy the actual 120 stockings we're going to stuff, but have a long way to go to fill them.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to help us purchase whatever is needed to fill the stockings that would be greatly appreciated. You can donate online right here. Follow the prompts. You can get a Canadian tax receipt.

If you are connected with a business that would like to donate to this worthy cause, by all means, see if they will help out!

Anyone who is local (Vancouver), there are links to printable flyers and contact information at Sunshine for Seniors. If you are local, we are also taking donations for items to put in the stockings.
And if you can't help with items to fill the stocking or money for the gift cards, please spread the word to those who might be able to!