Lower Sackville’s Freedom Kitchen wants to make sure everyone gets a gift this holiday season.
That’s why about three years ago, the outreach program of the Knox United Church in Lower Sackville started up the Adopt-a-Senior program, which ensures seniors that may be living on their own get a gift bag donated by the community.
“The seniors that we hear from, they are just so tickled pink,” says Beth Martin, one of the coordinators of Freedom Kitchen and Closet. “They are just so grateful that someone has thought of them and then that they get a little something because it’s a fact of life, and we have a lot of seniors who are on their own and might not have a gift other than this one.”
The program is a simple enough operation. People are asked to purchase a small gift or two that a senior may enjoy and appreciate.
“That Christmas gift usually contains a personal product like a bath bomb or shaving cream or something like that,” notes Martin. “(It can be) a sudoku book, a word puzzle, a pair of warm socks, maybe a pair of gloves, maybe a blanket, a little ornament (or) a little treat.”
Items can then be dropped off at Freedom Kitchen’s community partner Cars R Us on Sackville Drive, where they are collected, then organized and delivered to seniors — all by Freedom Kitchen volunteers.
“They can already be in a gift bag,” adds Martin. “Or they can be in a bag amongst themselves type of thing plus with a card (and) a note saying, 'hope you have a good holiday.'”
Freedom Kitchen will be accepting donated items until December 15 to be processed and delivered with a turkey dinner to the more than 125 seniors who already receive meal delivery with the outreach program.
Martin notes that the Adopt-a-Senior program is also the gift that keeps on giving. After all, not only do seniors get a thoughtful present from someone in the community, but for many of them, even the delivery of such items is a form of support.
“There are many definitions to need,” says Martin. “Some of them really don’t have much of a social connection — maybe the landlord of a building or maybe a neighbour or two — so this is our opportunity to connect with them.”
So far this year, Martin is thrilled with the response she has seen from the community to the Adopt-a-Senior program and she hopes to be able to spread the holiday cheer beyond just the seniors associated with Freedom Kitchen.
“If we go by the last couple of years,” adds Martin. “We usually end up with enough that we can do the people that we deliver to regularly as well as the three local seniors long-term care facilities that are in our area.”
For information on Freedom Kitchen’s Adopt-a-Senior program, visit their website.