Teens baked cookies, elementary students crafted Christmas cards, crafty seniors knitted and others donated gifts as the Seniors Helping Seniors group put together gift bags for 152 elderly food bank clients.
Gifts bags were opened onto a table at the Maple Ridge Seniors Centre on Monday morning, and the care packages were assembled by a busy group of women.
“There’s a real variety of stuff,” said Bob Foster, a member of the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society, and organizer of the Seniors Helping Seniors Group.
For many years, the Seniors Helping Seniors group at Ridge Meadows Seniors Society has put together little gift packages to go home with the seniors who regularly receive a food hamper from the local Friends in Need Food Bank.
Last year, with the help of the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie, Seniors Network, the group brought together an expanded package, and it was a big hit with recipients.
“They were pretty pleased, and we all felt good about it too,” said Foster.
Santa Claus was at the seniors centre on Monday to inspire the event.
“He was quite a hit with the ladies,” Foster observed.
This year, the cheer packages include one dozen shortbread cookies baked by culinary arts students at Maple Ridge secondary under the direction of chef Trevor Randle. This would not have been possible without ingredient donations from Save On Foods in east Maple Ridge, the Friends in Need Food Bank and Golden Ears FEAST (Food Education and Action Strategy Table).
Each senior also receives a Christmas card made by a student at Eric Langton elementary on card paper donated by Sure Copy Centre in Maple Ridge.
The Craft Ladies at RMSS who knit and crochet for fundraisers and community service contributed hand-knitted items like scarves, toques and mittens.
The Panorama Senior Ladies, who meet for tea once a month, have collected funds all year and have donated $400 worth of small gifts.
Residents from local care homes Greystone Manor, Willow Senior Living Residence and members of the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society donated gift items and food, and Maple Ridge Seniors Village provided gift bags, bows and ribbons.
“This project is about seniors coming together to help other seniors who are in need and to remind them that there is a community that cares about them,” said Seniors Network coordinator Heather Treleaven. “It’s the most rewarding project we work on all year.”