A small tree with the ability to bring joy has sprung up at the main entrance of London Drugs in Maple Ridge.
On the tree are paper decorations, hanging like ribbons – each containing a wish list for a local senior this holiday season.
The Stocking Stuffers for Seniors program is a chain-wide program of London Drugs.
Hot chocolate, gloves, toothbrushes, Band-Aids, candy, are a few of the items that can be found on the lists – lists that Bev Schmahmann, outreach coordinator with the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society, hopes members of the community will be able to fill for those who might not receive anything this Christmas.
“We do about 240 to 250 bags, if we can,” she said, noting this year the need is huge – much more than in past years.
“People are really strapped for having essentials,” she said, noting that some medical items like Polysporin and Band-Aids have also been added to the lists as well as lap blankets, toques, playing cards, different items the seniors wouldn’t normally be able to buy themselves.
Members of the Here We Are team, a group of about six to eight volunteers at the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society’s activity centre in Maple Ridge, will be packing the bags over the next couple of weeks and then the gift bags will be distributed to seniors about a week before Christmas. Around 11 people help with the deliveries.
“To help them through Christmas and give them some cheer,” she noted.
Dan Huff, store manager, said the list of products on each tag are suggestions for the gift bag, if someone wants to substitute, that is fine too, but the items must be brand new. Once all the items are purchased the bag can be dropped off at the customer service counter at the front of the store, along with the tag.
Customers who can bring in their tag with their products on or before Nov. 30 to the ValleyFair Mall store, Huff said will be given 1,000 LD Extras points.
“I’m really thrilled to be a part of it,” Huff said of the program.
And if anyone wants to add in items, they can do that as well, added Schmahmann. In previous years people have even donated extra gifts like boutique items, hand-written notes, paintings, and children’s drawings.
People can also add in a gift the senior can give to somebody else.
“Very often these seniors haven’t got the money to buy a Christmas gift for somebody. So we always add in some Christmas cards and some paper so they can give a gift to somebody else,” she said, with Huff noting that currently Carlton Cards are buy one, get one free, so customers can purchase one for themselves and donate the other.
The program will run until Dec. 8, when the tree will come down. However, if anyone brings in the gifts late, they will still get to Schmahmann and to those seniors in need.
London Drugs is located in ValleyFair Mall, 22709 Lougheed Highway, Maple Ridge.
For more information about program contact Schmahmann at 604-380-0516.
To learn about the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society go to: rmssseniors.org.