Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
While many of us identify with Christmas as a happy occasion, for others, especially seniors, it can be a time of loneliness.
Santa's for Seniors in Queens County works hard to change that sad scenario. And thanks to its efforts, and the good will of caring residents of the Region of Queens Municipality who were willing to "adopt" a senior, last year more than 200 elderly people were given a boost during the season.
The program, which has branches in other parts of Nova Scotia, brings seniors together with adopters, who in turn provide thoughtful gifts for them at Christmas.
Organizer Kendra Shot launched the program in Queens last year.
"I basically started it because I know there is a growing need for support for seniors in our communities. I see it daily, they sometimes become the forgotten ones," she said in a Facebook message. "There's a great deal of them that live alone. The number of tears that were shed last year when the gifts were delivered would break your heart."
She said it was an eye-opener for her and her kids who helped deliver some of the gifts.
Shot didn't know anything about the program until late last November when she read about the one in Halifax. She decided to try it in Liverpool, and within three weeks she had the names of 205 seniors that the community looked after.
With COVID-19, she wasn't sure about conducting the program this year, but after much thought and consideration she decided that it could, and should, be done.
Shot made operational changes, including how deliveries will be done. She pushed the deadline for dropping gifts off forward to December 11, allowing the presents quarantine time. And people delivering the gifts will need to stay back six feet from the receiver.
To qualify for the program, the senior must be over 55 years of age. Those with lower incomes will be given consideration as will anyone who simply is going to be alone.
Shot and her group of volunteers have reached out to various community groups that come into contact with seniors and are coordinating with them to take the seniors some items they may need or want.
Anyone who knows of a senior that could use some thoughtful gifts at Christmas time is asked to contact Shot at 902-646-0265, or by sending her a message on Facebook.
Shot is posting the gender of the senior and an age range on the Santa's for Seniors Queens County Facebook site, along with gift suggestions.
To adopt a senior, enter the word "Adopted" in the Comment section under the senior's description, indicating you are committed to helping that particular senior for this Christmas.
Adopters are advised to drop off their gifts between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. at the Route 3 Cellar, located at 8 MacLeod Street, Liverpool. The gifts should be put in a gift bag and labeled with the name of the adopted person.
"Santa's" volunteers will deliver the gifts between December 20 and 23.