Christmas gift campaign underway to support Edmonton seniors in need

It’s going to be a quiet and lonely Christmas for many seniors in Edmonton, but one holiday campaign is hoping to turn things around with some special gifts.

Teresa Potvin is a low-income senior and says the holidays are typically a lonely time.

“My children don’t visit me much if at all. In fact, I haven’t heard from my children in quite a while, and my grandchildren,” she said.

With the addition of COVID-19 restrictions, visits for her and many others will be nearly non-existent.

“Because of the COVID, people here are not able to visit with their friends and family, unless it’s on special permission,” Potvin said.

To help put a smile on the faces of low-income and at-risk seniors, London Drugs’ Stocking Stuffers for Seniors campaign is back and underway.

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“Customers come in, pick a tag off the tree and then they bring the gifts back, we sort them all,” said Carrie Dann, a London Drugs store manager.

But with COVID-19, Santa and his helpers won’t be doing in-person deliveries like years past.

“We’re really sad that we can’t do that part for (seniors) this year,” Dann said.

“We know that they need the items and we want them to know that we really care about them, and we want them to be safe and happy this year.”

More than 4,000 gifts were delivered in the capital region last year. Potvin has been getting hers since the program began in 2015 and says she always looks forward to receiving a gift.

“It is very helpful,” she said.

“It brightens up my Christmas and I get what I want from them 90 per cent of the time.”

Click to play video 'COVID-19 and senior care in Alberta'

COVID-19 and senior care in Alberta

COVID-19 and senior care in Alberta – Nov 13, 2020

Jimmy Morrison with Operation Friendship Seniors Society Edmonton works with many at-risk seniors and played a key role in launching the program in Alberta.

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“Most of our seniors have minimum or no family, and this time of year, to get a gift (and) a note in that gift from someone to say that they care about them or they’re thinking of them, goes a long way in their mental health,” Morrison said.

London Drugs’ Stocking Stuffers for Seniors campaign began at a single Edmonton location and has since expanded to 81 stores.

The campaign runs from now until Dec. 16.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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