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Kirkland woman ‘floored’ by support for her initiative to buy Christmas gifts for lonely seniors

Alana Edwards places a gift for a senior near her home Christmas tree, Dec 14, 2019.
Alana Edwards places a gift for a senior near her home Christmas tree, Dec 14, 2019. Dan Spector / Global News

A week into her initiative to rally West Islanders to buy Christmas presents for isolated seniors, Alanna Edwards says she is “floored” by the outpouring of support from the community.

“It’s overwhelming. I’m just in awe of what our community has come together to do,” she told Global News.

The Kirkland resident and mother of two small children set up “gift trees” at the Provigo in Pierrefonds last week. The trees are decked out in ornaments that all bear a gift request from an isolated elderly person living in a residence.

As they do their shopping, people grab an ornament and buy presents for the seniors who otherwise may not have received anything for Christmas.

Edwards had hoped to gather 200 gifts, but with the generosity West Islanders are showing, it looks like more than 400 lonely seniors will be getting presents from strangers who have decided to  “Be A Santa to A Senior” this year.

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READ MORE: West Islanders need your help to give Christmas gifts to seniors in need

“I thought it would take from now all the way until Christmas to get all the gifts done, but the community has just surpassed all my expectations. They floored me,” she said through a smile.

Edwards’ own Christmas tree at home is surrounded by the gifts that will be delivered to the seniors by children later this month.

She had started with one seniors’ residence, but the project has now expanded to five different homes.

“I never thought it was going to be this big,” Edwards said.

READ MORE: ‘The gift of time’: Seniors, especially men, at risk of holiday loneliness

She says she’s already looking to expand the project next year.

“I have people calling me and text messaging me for next year already, wanting to get involved. Different communities like Outremont, Dorval, they’re all interested in doing this there so it’s looking good for next year already,” she said.

Edwards told Global News she has a new faith in the generosity of people after seeing her project grow.