COVID-19: Tough holiday ahead for seniors
VANCOUVER -- It has been a rough year for seniors in care homes struggling with the difficulties of COVID-19, but you can do something to help put a smile on their face over the holidays.
The next time you are in London Drugs, take a look around for a Christmas tree with hanging tags. They are gift suggestions for seniors who are all alone this holiday season.
McLaughlin on Your Side visited a London Drugs location on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver and noticed a small, lonely tree sitting by the front door. It could have easily gone unnoticed, just like the seniors who are alone this year. However, upon closer inspection, we could see a tree filled with hope, containing gift suggestions for seniors - a wish list of stocking stuffers.
The stocking stuffer campaign originated in the Okanagan and expanded in 2015 to include several London Drug stores. Last year, about 20,000 seniors across Western Canada received gifts because of the campaign.
Participating is simple. Just grab a tag and fill the wish list. Typically, they include things like socks, chocolate, tea or body lotion – small things that do not cost a lot but bring a lot of joy to seniors in care homes.
In 2018, we visited some of those seniors who had received gifts from the donations that consumers made and you could see their faces light up as they said how much it meant to them that someone was thinking about them.
Just grab a tag and buy the items at London Drugs or somewhere else. Only new items are accepted. They will be delivered along with the tag to care homes for wrapping.
Once we pointed out the tree to some shoppers and explained what it was about, there was a lot of enthusiasm.
“I’m going to do it right now,” said a man named Shawn who had just exited the store. He went back in and grabbed a tag to fill the list.
“I’ll tell all my staff to come check it out,” said an Earl’s restaurant manager, who had come downstairs from the restaurant above to see what we were doing there.
“It’s awesome,” he said.
Yes, it is. Due to COVID-19, we could not visit the seniors who will be receiving the gifts this year. However, Mount Saint Joseph’s resident care manager Carrie Willekes told CTV News you can bet that the presents will make a big difference.
“It’s meaningful and our seniors look forward to them,” she said. Especially considering the year they've had.
“This year is going to be very different,” she said. “There isn’t the usual flurry of activity in our homes right now.”