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Kingston retirement residents give back to first responders, front-line workers

Click to play video: 'Kingston retirement residents give back to first responders, front-line workers' Kingston retirement residents give back to first responders, front-line workers
WATCH: Residents at a Kingston, Ont., retirement home have found their own way of saying thanks to first responders and front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic – May 25, 2021

It’s a regular Tuesday morning at Royal Place — a retirement home in Kingston’s west end. But for a group of volunteers, it means they’re putting together some gift bags headed to area first responders and front-line workers.

“It gets our community involved, and it’s just a small way for us to say thank you for everything that everyone has done over the last 15 months,” Royale Place general manager Josh Lavigne said.

“As we all know it’s been extraordinary times, so [this was] just a small gesture on our part to say thank you.”
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One by one the bags were filled with sweet treats, a bag of potato chips, gift cards and some encouraging words of wisdom before being finished off with a bow.

The bags will be delivered to area hospitals, clinics, fire departments as well as essential businesses that have stayed open during the pandemic.

“One of the spots we went to actually said they’ve been there over 30 years and no one’s ever gone this route to say thank you to them,” Lavigne said. “So definitely hearing words like that back to us is the reason we do it.”

Click to play video: 'Showing appreciation to those that are currently sacrificing to keep us safe.' Showing appreciation to those that are currently sacrificing to keep us safe.
Showing appreciation to those that are currently sacrificing to keep us safe – May 7, 2020

So far residents and staff have teamed up to put together nearly 1,200 gift bags over the past few months, with no signs of stopping anytime soon. That’s because they always seem to find a new group of deserving recipients, and residents are having so much fun putting them together.

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“You’ve got to make 24 hours of the day a happy time,” Royal Place resident, Betty McKenney said. “So when we were asked to volunteer for this we thought that’s a great way to say thank you to the people.”

And judging by the reaction to this initiative, the volunteers know they’re giving a boost to those on the front lines of the pandemic.

“It makes you feel like you’re doing something for somebody else that has been out there and working so hard for the population of Kingston,” Royale Place resident Frank McKenney said.

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