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Helping hands . . . Altrusa members (from left) Norma Dovey, Jenny Cleland and Louise McNeill decorate a Christmas tree with tags for rest-home residents' gifts. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

A group of Oamaru people who are overlooked at Christmas are getting special attention this year.

Thanks to a new initiative from the Altrusa Club, rest-home residents who do not have any visitors or presents on Christmas Day will receive a gift to unwrap.

Altrusa members approached local rest-homes to ask which residents had no family visits on the big day. They identified about 25 people, who were then asked what they would like for Christmas.

The wishes have been written on to tags, which are being tied to a Christmas tree that will be placed in the Oamaru Pharmacy this afternoon.

Pharmacist Jim Hopley was happy to be involved in the project, Altrusa president Helen Newlands said.

The public are invited to go into the shop, take a tag from the tree, buy the item stated, and return it with the tag to a box in the pharmacy.

Altrusans will wrap and decorate the gifts and deliver them to the rest-homes the week before Christmas.