After an annual holiday fundraiser in Miramichi, N.B., had to be cancelled, students in the area answered the call to help local seniors.
The idea was spearheaded by Max Aitken Academy, with vice-principal Krista Page taking the lead on the initiative.
She received a call recently that a local radio station wouldn’t be able to pull off an annual fundraiser — in which students have provided gifts for seniors in recent years — and brought the problem to students.
Eleven schools ended up participating, raising money by holding hat days or pyjama days. With donations of a dollar or two, they raised more than $6,000.
Once the word got out, local service clubs and local businesses contributed, bringing the total to about $9,000, Page says.
With help from first responders earlier this week, those gifts were delivered to 270 residents at two seniors homes; Bridgeview Hall and Losier Hall.
Singing Christmas carols and seeing smiling faces inside the homes was a delight for Grade 8 student Craig Doyle.
“It’s nice to give to the seniors because, especially with COVID-19, you can’t get as many visitors,” Doyle says. “A lot of people aren’t allowed inside the seniors home so it’s nice just to give to (them).”
“We did a lot of stockings and we just kind of put some care packages in there, like shampoo and conditioner and body wash and stuff like that,” says Madison Vickers, another Grade 8 student.
Treats were also included for the staff who’ve stepped up during the pandemic, Page says.
The initiative was dubbed ‘Santa for Seniors.’
And based on the smiles from some of the residents, it was certainly an enjoyable way to celebrate the holiday season with many restrictions getting in the way of typical gatherings.
“To see our residents to be able to see so happy, to have a celebration like this… Like I said it has been a challenging year, so to be able to do something to bring joy to them in this way… We’re very grateful.”
And a message from the vice-principal to share the love any way you can.
“If you have the time, our seniors really need our time and our love… And this is a wonderful way to do it,” Page says.