This is the time of year when a group of students at W.D. Cuts School volunteers its time and energy to make a difference for dozens of local seniors they don’t even know.
The work is done as part of a small but cherished program dubbed Seniors in Need. Co-ordinated through the St. Albert Senior Citizens’ Club, the program aims to provide gift baskets to local seniors who might otherwise not get anything under the tree for Christmas.
According to Leslie MacEachern, executive director of the club, this is much different from a typical hamper. She explained that the basket is meant more to satisfy the basic human needs of belonging and connection, needs that might otherwise go unfulfilled for some local residents because of undue circumstances.
“It’s for seniors who might be isolated or maybe otherwise not have family here and not get anything for Christmas,” she said, adding there are 56 people on the list this year, an increase of several people over last year.
It begins with the students who acquire various items like stationery or games before they assemble the baskets next week with the help of the board members from the seniors’ club. The gifts are then brought back to the club to be reviewed and additional items can be purchased to add before the board members deliver them around town.
MacEachern said that it might not seem like much but for some it is more than they expected to get. Given some seniors are homebound and don’t have family or regular visitors, then you can imagine the effect the gift baskets might have. Most recipients are deeply touched.
“We receive so many thank you cards afterwards or comments like ‘I don’t think I would have gotten anything’ or ‘I’m going to save this to open on Christmas Eve.’ We’ve had that from a few [people].”
While the club appreciates public response to help, only cash donations will be accepted but delivery help is also appreciated. Call the club at 780-459-0433 or visit www.stalbertseniorsclub.org for more information.