Oamaru’s Altrusa club is calling on the public to help add a little extra holiday cheer for seniors in need.
For the fourth consecutive year, the club is running its Be Santa to a Senior initiative. It has approached Oamaru rest-homes to ask which residents would not have any visitors or presents on Christmas Day, and what they would like as a gift.
Their wishes have been written on to tags and attached to a Christmas tree placed in the Oamaru Pharmacy. The public can take a tag from the tree, buy the item stated and return it with the tag to a box in the pharmacy.
Altrusans then wrap and decorate the gifts and deliver them to the rest-homes before Christmas.
Most requests were for something small, but others were more specific and sentimental, Altrusa Club member Helen Newlands said.
“One year someone asked for a picture of a farm,” Mrs Newlands said.
“It could be clothing that they want or need. We had one dear lady who wanted a pretty blouse with long sleeves and a collar; it was quite specific.”
Last year, about 38 residents in rest-homes across Oamaru received gifts through the initiative.
Most people had felt isolated at some point during this year due to Covid-19, but seniors were especially at risk of feeling lonely, and a simple gift could bring them a lot of joy. That was more important this year than ever, she said.
“We get a lot of pleasure from doing it.