The simple gesture of giving a gift could mean the world to thousands of seniors who are seeing increased isolation this holiday season due to COVID-19 protective protocols.
Supporters can visit their local London Drugs between now and December 16 to choose a tag from the tree that contains the wish list, or everyday essentials, of a local senior. The gifts are then safely delivered to the seniors before Christmas.
To ensure the utmost safety for seniors, staff and volunteers of the program this year, each London Drugs location is working with their program partner(s) and elder care experts to ensure the program meets their specific safety requirements for the safe collection and transfer of gifts that will be delivered to the seniors by approved personnel and volunteers.
“2020 has been a challenging and difficult year for many of us, but it’s especially affected our elderly Canadian population,” said Clint Mahlman, President and Chief Operating Officer, London Drugs. “We all know the effects of isolation and loneliness on our seniors have been significant during the pandemic, and the goal of the Stocking Stuffers for Seniors program is to show our seniors we care, we are thinking of them, and we are here for them—even if we can’t be there for them in person this year.”
Each London Drugs will have information posted next to the Stocking Stuffers for Seniors tree with information on how the participating care homes will be managing the gifts to keep their seniors safe. In many instances, donated gifts will be isolated for 72 hours prior to internal distribution to the seniors.
“This year, it’s more important than ever to show seniors that they are not alone,” said Jimmy Morrison, Community Relations Supervisor, Operation Friendship Seniors Society. “Just the act of receiving a gift helps to significantly improve the spirits of a senior and can have lasting mental and physical health benefits.”
Morrison says that they are relying heavily on Canadians to support their seniors with many annual programs being cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.
“Our number one priority is protecting our seniors, as they are in the higher-risk age group, however because many already isolated seniors are being asked to stay home, or may not have loved ones able to visit them for months, they need additional support getting essentials such as food, warmth items or toiletries,” says Morrison. “The Stocking Stuffers for Seniors program is significant to us, and all the participating senior organizations, because it helps us safely deliver these generous gifts while boosting an individual’s mental health by letting them know someone cares about them—even if it’s from a stranger.”
Morrison says when seniors are lonely or isolated, it can significantly compromise their mental or physical health. When they receive a gift at Christmas, it reminds them that someone out there cares about them.
The Stocking Stuffers for Seniors donation drive concept originated in British Columbia’s Okanagan, and expanded to Edmonton in 2015 with a goal to help 40 low-income seniors by providing them with simple gifts such as food, hygiene products or warmth items. The campaign has grown quickly to now include all 81 London Drugs locations in 35 cities across Western Canada.
Since the campaign started, approximately 44,000 packages have been delivered to seniors.
To support Stocking Stuffers for Seniors, visit any London Drugs between now and December 16 and take a tag with a senior’s wish list from the tree. From there, simply fulfill the items on the list and bring the new and unwrapped items to customer service at the London Drugs location where the tag was selected.
Each participating care home may have specific needs or guidelines for the collection and delivery of gifts amidst the pandemic. As such, London Drugs encourages all interested supporters to check with their local store staff to learn how to safely donate gifts this year, or to learn how their generous gifts will be safely delivered to the seniors.
POPULAR GIFTS FOR SENIORS
- – Books or magazines
- – Blankets and throws
- – Kitchen essentials
- – Candy or chocolate
- – Board games or puzzles
- – Slippers or warm socks
- – Toilet paper, paper towels, or tissues
- – Warm clothing like gloves and scarves
- – Travel mugs
- – Gift cards for groceries and toiletries
Stocking Stuffers for Seniors participants and campaign supporters are being asked to use the#StockingStuffersForSeniors hashtag on social media to encourage others to get involved so more elderly Canadians can be supported at the holidays, as well as year-round.