Kelowna employees trade in staff party for chance to spread holiday cheer

Kelowna employees trade in staff party for chance to spread holiday cheer

Some central Okanagan residents are trading in a staff holiday party for the chance to make the season brighter for some Kelowna seniors.

Instead of their annual Christmas party, the 40 staff of Healthy at Home Senior Care have decided to spend that money providing a holiday surprise for six Kelowna seniors, who don’t have any family in town and won’t be able to travel to visit their loved ones for Christmas.

“We decided to buy some gifts and trees and some goodies and bring them to some of the seniors in Kelowna that have no family this year to spend Christmas with,” manager of house keeping for the at-home senior care business, Leeanne Lehman said.

In a time of year when so many people are spending time with family and friends, having the company of those who care, can mean the world.

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“It certainly is a surprise for me,” 94-year-old Emily Sutherland said.

“I feel like a queen.”

Sutherland is one of the seniors who got a surprise visit from three staff members of the company and its owner, Michael Bratt.

“I didn’t feel right by having a Christmas party when there’s so many seniors that are alone at Christmas, their families are out of town,” Bratt said.

And their giving spirit expands beyond the holiday season.

Bratt said his staff plan to volunteer every month to help those who can’t afford their services.

“There’s so many people that call us up that they’re wanting companionship for their parents and their families don’t live in town so they’re worried about their parents and they can’t afford our services,” Bratt said.

He estimates with each of his staff members donating two to four hours of volunteer companionship time, that in January alone, they may be able to visit with up to 30 seniors who aren’t existing clients.

The volunteer companionship program will begin in January and Bratt hopes other businesses will catch on and do the same.

“I personally believe that it should be every senior’s right to have at least two companion visits a week,” Bratt said.

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Bratt said anyone interested in helping can sponsor a senior companionship visit. You can click here for more information on how to get involved.