Items needed for donation for Santa for Seniors. (Special to The News)

Items needed for donation for Santa for Seniors. (Special to The News)

Seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows getting a special visit from Santa this year

Santa for Seniors looking for donations until Saturday, Dec. 11

Santa is planning a special visit to seniors in the community this year.

Angela Morel and a group of special helpers are collecting and wrapping gift packages that they will be donating to seniors in the community.

Called Santa for Seniors, it started off as a family tradition in 2019. Up until then Morel’s family would exchange gifts with each other for Christmas.

But, when Morel would visit her father, who was living in a seniors building in town, she would notice a lot of the people living there were lonely.

So that year her family decided instead of exchanging gifts, they would pool their money and purchase items for Christmas packages for all of the residents.

Then on Christmas eve Morel, her father-in-law, and husband, Marty, went door-to-door in the building leaving packages at the doors at all 80 of the residents – including her father’s.

“My dad didn’t actually know that it was us, so that was fun,” Morel said.

The following year they decided to do the same thing. That year they posted their idea online and the post went “crazy” said Morel, with all of their friends wanting to help.

Last year they were able to make 545 packages. They had so many that they partnered with Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services, as well as the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Seniors Network to help them distribute.

This year they are aiming to put together 1,000 packages.

They will be holding Santa for Seniors in Morel’s father’s memory – Jean-Claude Charron, known as John to his friends – passed away in July, 2020.

Morel and her family are planning to pass out packages to the original 80 residents in her father’s former residence.

READ MORE: Operation Santa for Seniors gives presents to hundreds in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows

RELATED: Making the holiday season bright for seniors in need in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

They will be accepting donations until Saturday Dec. 11.

“We’re looking for small items that are festive and of comfort, little individual wrapped chocolates, festive little ornaments, small tinned or packaged cookies, little mini crossword books or word searches, playing cards, $1 festive scratch and wins. little mini hand lotions, Kleenex, and smaller festive cozy socks and small knitted stretchy gloves,” explained Morel.

“We’re making up all those packages and we’re hoping to do as many as we possibly can,” she added.

There are no drop off locations, instead Morel and her husband will be doing pickups. People wanting to donate can go to the Facebook group – Operation Santa for Seniors – to schedule a pickup. They’ve gone as far as Chilliwack, Coquitlam, and Langley to pick up donations.

Morel promised that through their partnerships, every single package they make up will find a home.

“Definitely there’s more seniors than there are packages and we are pushing as hard as we can to get as many as we can,” said Morel.

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