The scissors glide along the paper seamlessly, cutting it to the perfect length. The screech of tape as it’s pulled from its roll is joined by the crinkling of folding paper. With deft hands, the box is turned into a present any child would be delighted to rip open.
“The residents wrapped all the gifts,” said Krista Hazelwood, lifestyle consultant at Island Park Retirement Residence in Campbellford. “It was completely resident committee funded… They use their funds however they choose, and this was one of the ways they chose to use their money.”
For the second year in a row, residents at Island Park decided to sponsor a local family in need for the Holidays. The family was comprised of two grandparents raising their four grandchildren, who are all under the age of 12.
“The Grandparents just couldn’t see them getting separated and put into different homes,” said Krista. “Our goal this year, other than to make the family’s Christmas a little brighter, was to shop locally.”
The Salvation Army provided Krista with a list of things the children had wished for. Armed with that list, a group of residents and Krista took to the town, determined to make the Holidays brighter. Krista said they managed to get nearly everything on the list, and also put together a gift bag for the entire family.
“A common theme sort of came up between all of the children, and it was that they all enjoyed doing art,” said Krista. “[The family gift] was full of art supplies — so adult colouring books, crayons, markers and construction paper.”
Some of the other gifts included treats from Dooher’s Bakery and six tickets to visit the local theatre. Krista said they were careful to make sure that the children had an equal number of presents. The gifts were also all colour-coded, so the grandparents would know who got each gift.
“It really is a heartwarming experience to be able to give back to the community… It’s probably one of the residents’ favourite things all year to do, is to be giving back to the community,” said Krista. “I definitely think we’ll be doing it again, for sure.”