One of A Helping Hand’s core missions is to reduce the loneliness that many of our community’s seniors contend with daily. We know that this isolation can be punctuated during the holidays, when many seniors are missing family that have left their lives as the years passed. While some of us are lucky enough to have friends and family to exchange gifts with, there are many who do not expect any presents during the holidays, or even friendly visitors. Understanding this led us to start our own holiday tradition of raising funds to buy low-income and isolated seniors holiday gifts.
Our hope has been that through this effort, these seniors will know not just that our organization is thinking about them, but that people throughout our community want them to know that they are valued.
In past years AHH has partnered with various organizations and businesses to gather gift cards for seniors and adults with disabilities. The grateful response we heard from those that received these gifts gave us a desire to grow the effort.
Last year, we decided to try something new. We placed Giving Trees at various local businesses that were gracious enough to host them. On each tree dangled tags with a short letter about one of our clients, and a suggested gift card idea.
We hoped that telling people about a senior that needed a gift for the holidays would resonate with the community, and we were not disappointed! This year, we had 79 seniors on our gift list, and we were able give each of them at least $100 of gift cards this year! For some, we asked for cards from grocery stores, Walmart, and Target.
Often, with this they will purchase food, and household staples, as low-income seniors frequently struggle to get their basic needs on a monthly basis. For others we knew they just wanted something they could have fun with, like a card from a coffee shop, or certificate for a restaurant. Shortly before Christmas we gathered the donations and prepared them for volunteers to make face to face deliveries of their gifts. In the process we got some great photos!
This is such a great experience; we are already excited to do it again next year!
We are so grateful for all the donations, and we hope everyone who contributed knows how much this means to our organization and those that received a gift!
We would like to give special thanks to:
Karen Frankola for her generous donation.
The following businesses that hosted our Giving Trees:
Joe Van Gogh
Happy and Hale
La Vita Dolce
The People’s Choice Hair Salon (Hosted a tree and the owner, Chabella, also delivered gifts)
Kappy Psi Beta Xi at UNC (hosted a tree and made ornaments for other donors)