REGINA – For many, the Christmas holidays is spent with family and friends but not everyone is as fortunate.
Santa for Seniors Project Inc. hopes to change that. They use car trunks as sleighs but refrain from calling their organizer jolly old Saint Nick.
“I think I would maybe be Santa’s head elf, just organizing things and making sure things get to where they need to go,” said Sean Louvel.
Santa for Seniors is a Regina based non-profit outreach program that uses volunteers to provide Christmas cheer for elders, one gift at a time.
“People get busy and they don’t always have time to visit their grandparents. And quite often if people live to a certain age their friends and family haven’t lived that long or they don’t have friends and family nearby,” explained Louvel.
Usually, Santa’s presents are meant for kids but with this program anonymous names are posted on a list with their requests and volunteers choose a name and buy the present.
“When we heard about this Santa for Seniors, I gave Sean a call right away and I told him we wanted to participate,” said Cecilia Ravasco, who bought gifts for 25 seniors with her ministry group ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor).
The number of volunteers has been growing. This year 12 senior homes will be visited and 900 gifts delivered. That’s up from 400 last year and is the largest in the project’s six year history.
“This is the time to share, Christmas is the time for sharing,” said Ravasco. .
“It’s their opportunity to basically celebrate a parent or a grandparent who’s passed on,” added Ken Louvel, Sean’s father.
So, what would someone who’s lived decades on this earth want for Christmas?
“Some of the things are so simple. For example some say, ‘I haven’t had a new shirt in 10 years, can you get me a sweater? And it’s just like, yeah” said Louvel.
Many of the seniors are on fixed incomes with not much to get by and sometimes a simple gift can make a difference.
“When people get to feel that, to feel that someone cares and someone remembers them and honours them for that, that to me is why we do it every year,” added Louvel.