Spread Christmas cheer: Lend helping hand to seniors

Part 3 of the Guide's giving series

Michelle Stuckey
December 10, 2010 at 9:03 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The “season of giving” is in full swing and there are already plenty of ways that parishioners can give back to the community this year.

While celebrating, remember that many older residents may be spending the holidays alone.

Fay Caire, director of the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, or RSVP, said that just visiting or talking to an elderly neighbor or friend could make their holiday brighter.

“So many of them are home alone and have no one to call,” Caire said. “Just spend some time and check on them, call them to make sure they’re okay or if they need anything, or even just tell them you’re thinking of them.

“Do anything to make them feel like someone’s thinking about them at this time of year.”

RSVP also collects gifts for homebound seniors during the holiday season and is looking for community donations.

Caire said that parishioners can bring gift donations to the RSVP office at 107 Marilyn Drive Suite B in Luling.

“This year is a rough year for so many people,” she said. “They appreciate anything, really.”

Caire said that monetary donations are also a great way to help parish seniors.

“With (monetary donations) we could service whatever their needs are,” Caire said.

For those who are struggling with the slow economy, Caire said that generic and homemade Christmas cards for seniors would be a great way to remind them they are appreciated.

“We’ll put the cards with the packages and make sure they get them,” she said. “That would be great.”

Cards, in unsealed envelopes or with no envelope, can also be dropped off at the RSVP office.

“It’s so touching when you give the gifts to them…it makes you want to cry because they’re so appreciative. It really touches their hearts,” Caire said about delivering the gifts to the seniors.

Call the RSVP office at (985)785-1037 for more information on donating.

Caire said that the gift of time is just as valuable and rewarding as giving donations.

“Visiting elderly neighbors would probably mean everything in the world to them,” she said. “Think about it: they’re home alone, nobody’s checking on them and it would just be so nice to them.”

Luling Living Center and Ormond Nursing and Care Center have plenty of opportunities for community members to visit the elderly and the residents love to see new faces.

“Most of (our residents) don’t have a lot of visitors,” said Betty Jackson, activity director at the Luling center. “They really like having volunteers.”

The center on Paul Maillard Road accepts volunteers daily, but also has some special events coming up that call for extra help.

The center will host a “Penny Party” on Dec. 15 in which residents can go on a mock shopping trip throughout the center, buying different donated items for fewer than 5 cents.

“They love it - they come and shop around, but sometimes they need assistance shopping,” Jackson said.

For those parishioners who don’t have extra time this December, Jackson said that the center is also accepting donations for the Penny Party.

“People can donate any kind of item at all,” she said.

The center will also need extra volunteers at its annual Christmas Party on Dec. 23 to help with serving and decorating.

At the Ormond center, there are also opportunities for parishioners to volunteer every day of the week.

Volunteers help residents do everything from arts and crafts to taking a stroll outside. They can also read to the residents or help them get from place to place within the center.

“Having visitors just lights up the residents’ faces. They love company,” said Tiffany White, activities director at Ormond Nursing and Care Center. “It really brightens up their day. It gives a lot back to them to know there are people in the community besides their families who really care about them…it’s so overwhelming.”

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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