BONNYVILLE – A local organization will have to get a bit creative this year when bringing Christmas joy to local seniors.
Stockings 4 Seniors in the Bonnyville and Cold Lake area won’t look like it has during its past two years of operations, due to COVID-19.
“In previous years, the seniors were being adopted by members of the community and their gifts were either given in stockings or bags,” explained creator Sandy Evans. “A lot of the gifts were like scarves, throws, cosmetic items, along with individual stuff like socks, mitts, hats, shirts, pajamas, and things like that.”
It quickly became apparent to Evans that the Stockings 4 Seniors elves and Sandy Clause wouldn’t be able to make their deliveries this year due to COVID-19.
“This year, nothing is being allowed into the facilities that cannot be aggressively wiped down and disinfected,” she noted.
In order to spread Christmas cheer to local seniors for the third year in a row, Evans knew she had to get creative. After discussing what to do with a few different people, Evans landed on the idea of raising $5,000 and splitting the money between the Cold Lake and Bonnyville lodges for a "legacy gift."
“Something that the residents of today and in the future can enjoy,” Evans said. “I’m not sure what that will look like, so I’ll leave that up to the recreation managers to figure that out.”
A Gofundme page was launched on Sept. 24 and will be opened until Dec. 15. Once the funds are released, Evans will deliver the cheques to the lodge staff by Dec. 17.
Evans is hoping the coronavirus protocols will be lessened next year in order to get Stockings 4 Seniors back to its former glory.
“Hopefully, we can go back to our normal and then go bigger even because the lodge in Bonnyville has grown and the lodge in Cold Lake has grown. There’s a need out there,” she expressed.
Stockings for Seniors officially launched in 2018 and saw gifts handed out to 242 seniors in the Cold Lake and Bonnyville area. The following year, there was a slight increase to 249 who was given a surprise from the community through the program.
Evans started the initiative after losing three of her parents within the span of three years and she searched for a group that gives presents to local seniors. When she found out there weren't any, Stockings 4 Seniors was born.
The only qualification for those who are given gifts is to be a senior in the area, Evans stressed.
“It’s to give back and say ‘thank you.’ Thank you for being you and all that you’ve done and continued to do, that their lives have meaning,” she detailed. “If I could reach out to the ones that have less than active families than that’s even better. But that’s the reason for Stockings 4 Seniors, to give back and say thank you.”
With the hard times facing the community, Evans said they’re grateful for anything people can give.
“I know funds are tight everywhere and any little donation toward our goal is very helpful and I’m very appreciative because it’s hard times.”
To donate, go to https://ca.gofundme.com/f/stockings-4-seniors-2020.