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Secret Santa gives Calgary’s isolated seniors gift of compassion

Click to play video: 'Secret Santa gives Calgary’s isolated seniors gift of compassion' Secret Santa gives Calgary’s isolated seniors gift of compassion
WATCH: It's an annual campaign that really warms the heart. Seniors who live in poverty, or don't have family around, are getting their Christmas wishes granted by strangers. As Jill Croteau reports - lonely seniors benefit from receiving but it's also the donors who get something in return – Dec 26, 2019

It’s the season of giving. But some people across the country are without a family to share the Christmas spirit. It’s why Seniors Secret Service aims to provide kind gestures to isolated seniors in the Calgary area.

Through the support of volunteers and donors, they help make the holidays brighter for the seniors living in low-income, assisted-living or palliative-care facilities or who are hospitalized over Christmas.

Boxes of donations for seniors. Jill Croteau/Global News

“Many seniors who have lost a spouse or are without family spend the season alone, and it can be an especially difficult time for them. The simple gesture of giving a gift shows our seniors that people care about them and improves their spirits which can have lasting mental and physical health benefits,” said Andrea Brumwell, executive director of Seniors Secret Service.

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Five-thousand six-hundred seniors in and around Calgary are on their list.

For a lot of them, this is the only gift they’ll receive,” Brumwell said. “You can really see what’s important to them.

The charity has paired with Stocking Stuffers for Seniors, a program at London Drugs across the country.

London Drugs manager Ben Pullein said the campaign is very successful.

“It’s our best year yet for donations. Seeing something that’s resonating in community is wonderful,” Pullein said. “Our staff love it and it’s great to be part of.”

Judy Moir is one of those generous donors. She does it in honor of her mom, Marjorie, who passed away four years ago.

Judy Moir and her mom, Marjorie Fraser. Courtesy: Judy Moir

“She was always a big gift giver at Christmas and I think she would think it’s nice I’m doing it,” Moir said. “It’s like her spirit is still living through Christmas.”

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Judy wrapping Christmas gifts. Jill Croteau/Global News

She knows how fortunate her mom was to be surrounded by family.

“That’s what happens in these nursing homes, there’s so many in there that just get forgotten.”

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