Adopt-a-Grandparent returns to bring cheer to Lacombe seniors

75 Lacombe seniors to receive gift bags from the community

Santa Klaus and Mrs. Klaus were at the Lacombe Hospital last year handing out gifts for the Adopt-a-Grandparent program put on by the Lacombe Market. Photo Submitted

Adopt-a-Grandparent is returning to Lacombe to help seniors in who may be feeling isolated during the holiday season.

The program, which is organized by the Lacombe Market, started five years ago and this year will bring holiday gift bags to 40 men and 35 women currently staying at the Lacombe Hospital.

Wendy Buyer, organizer said the idea of the project was a way for the previous organizers to teach her children about giving.

“A lady in town started this because she was away from family and wanted her children to learn some things about giving and the Christmas spirit,” Buyer said.

“She moved away about two years ago and asked the market to take it over.”

The program is anonymous, which is often misunderstood by the community.

“A lot of people misunderstand and think they can adopt and bring the individual into their homes. Unfortunately that is not a possibility because there are security, health and privacy issues,” Buyer said.

The gifts are instead handed out by volunteers in mid-December and Santa Klaus and his wife help deliver the gifts.

Buyer said it is amazing to see the seniors reactions to the gifts.

“They light right up and some of the gifts are amazing,” she said. “You wouldn’t think a 90-year-old man would want a teddy bear, but you see so many tears from the most lovable sweet people in the world.

“They are overjoyed and some of the gifts are so simple like soaps, shampoos and razors that they don’t have of their own.”

The main reason behind the project is to allow seniors to feel loved during the holiday season.

“There is a lot of them that have their family there and their families are doing their very best, but there are some that are isolated,” Buyer said. “There was one last year whose family was in Saskatchewan, so it is not easy for them to come out.

“Some of them don’t have any family left, which is sad.”

Buyer added this is a program that is missing in several communities and she is pleased that Lacombe has embraced it.

“Everything I have heard has told me this has got bigger and it is a little bigger than last year for us,” she said. “We have had more businesses call and say they want to be a drop-off spot, which is fantastic because it is easier for us when people have multiple options.”

A full list can be found on the project’s Facebook page, but some of the items include:

  • Socks and slippers with rubber bottoms
  • Aveeno body wash and lotions which are scent-free for allergies
  • Purell body wash and lotion
  • Disposable razors for males and females
  • Night lights
  • Tooth brushes and tooth pastes
  • Nail clippers
  • Colouring books with large, clear pictures
  • Markers
  • Pillow cases
  • Blankets
  • Nail polish
  • Scarves

“Obviously every bag won’t have all these things because every day will be different,” Buyer added.

Cash is also accepted, but not encourages in large amounts.

“We would prefer gifts and cash donations should be minimal. Cash would be used to fill the bags that do not have as much so people don’t feel left out,” Buyer said.

Donations can be until Dec. 1st at Community Fit Physiotherapy Clinic, Lacombe Storage Center, 50th Avenue House Bed and Breakfast and the 21st Annual Lacombe Christmas Faire on Dec, 1st only.

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