Wendy Buyar (left) hands gifts off to a hospital member to take inside the facility on Dec. 4. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

Wendy Buyar (left) hands gifts off to a hospital member to take inside the facility on Dec. 4. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

Adopt-A-Grandparent program helps a record number of seniors in Lacombe and Bentley

The program aims to connect local seniors with community members for the holidays

Lacombe’s Adopt-A-Grandparent program has helped bring Christmas spirit to over 100 seniors this holiday season.

The program is organized by Lacombe Regional Tourism and has taken place every November since 2014. The goal of the program is to connect members of the community with seniors for the holidays.

Many seniors have sent a list of a few items they would like to Lacombe Tourism and then are matched with an anonymous family who will donate the items.

The senior’s wish lists can include a variety of items such as nail clippers, knitting needles or their favourite chocolate bar.

“There are all sorts of really neat things on these wish lists and this year there’s even one gentleman who wanted a fedora,” said Wendy Buyar, Marketing and Event Planner for Lacombe Regional Tourism.

This year there was an outpouring of support for the initiative and the seniors in Lacombe were adopted quickly.

“We had the 72 seniors at the hospital adopted within a couple of days,” said Buyar.

After the seniors were adopted from the Lacombe Hospital, Buyar turned to the local senior’s lodge and then to the Bentley Care Centre.

“I’m sure we could have kept going because we still had more people asking [to adopt seniors],” said Buyar.

This year there are close to 800 items that have been donated so far.

In a normal year, the gifts would be delivered to seniors in person, possibly with the help of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 protocols, the normal festivities will not be taking place.

Instead, gifts will be delivered to the hospitals and care centres and then the staff at the facilities will handle the rest. The presents will go through several quarantine periods to ensure they aren’t carrying any viruses.

One unlikely bonus, in addition to the record number of donations, was the tourism this brought to the area. Some people who signed up to adopt a grandparent told Buyar they had never visited Lacombe before but wanted to support the fundraiser.

This resulted in a few families from Edmonton and Red Deer who were able to drop off their gifts and tour around the city discovering the local businesses.

“In a funny little way the program was able to benefit the community in another way,” said Buyar.

The initiative took on even more meaning this year because of the global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Canada’s older generations.

“This program is about connecting people and even if we can’t touch them and hug them like we really want to this is a way we can show them we care,” said Buyar.

Organizers were able to deliver gifts to the Bentley Care Centre and the Lacombe Senior Lodge on Thursday and the rest of the gifts were delivered to the Lacombe Hospital on Dec. 4. Though this gift delivery was done earlier than normal Buyar isn’t complaining.

“I think it’s not a bad idea for them to get the gifts a little early because this has been an awful year for everyone but especially for them,” said Buyar.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

There were two vans and one large semi-truck full of gifts for the grandparents at the Lacombe Hospital. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

There were two vans and one large semi-truck full of gifts for the grandparents at the Lacombe Hospital. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta passes bill to give all workers paid leave to get COVID-19 vaccine shot

Labour Minister Jason Copping says Bill 71 will reduce barriers for Alberta workers to get vaccinated

Alberta completed 18,412 COVID-19 tests, as reported on Wednesday, for a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Highest daily count of 2021 so far: Alberta reports 1,699 COVID-19 cases

Variants now make up 59 per cent of Alberta’s active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. announces signage along Alberta border to discourage non-essential travel

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Alberta bill would protect health workers, care homes from some COVID-19 lawsuits

The bill proposes exempting a range of workers, including doctors, pharmacists and care-home operators, from being sued over COVID-19 unless it was for gross negligence

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Alberta government aiming to boost financial literacy among students

Government providing grants to organizations who will help design financial literacy programming

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

Most Read