Stonewall seniors receiving the gift of Christmas

One of the drop-off boxes for Secret Santa For Seniors at the Red River Co-op Food Store in Stonewall, MB on Nov. 15, 2019. (Adam Peleshaty/The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times/Postmedia Network)

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Many of Stonewall’s seniors will have a little bit of Christmas cheer this holiday season thanks to the generosity of local residents.

After a successful first year in 2018, Secret Santa For Seniors accepted donations this year with drop-off boxes located at both the Sunova Credit Union branch and Red River Co-op Food Store in Stonewall. The initiative provides gifts for seniors in Stonewall and area who would otherwise have little for Christmas.

Donna Grieve, who started Secret Santa For Seniors, was inspired by her sister Karen who started a similar initiative in her hometown in Alberta.

“She started one out there about five years ago and it was so successful, that I decided to start one in Stonewall,” Grieve told The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times. “There’s so much focus on other age groups like children at Christmas time and we forget that there are seniors out there who would like to receive a gift. Many of them don’t have family nearby and many of them wouldn’t receive a gift.”

Last year, 203 gifts were donated to Secret Santa For Seniors; this year, Grieve said that approximately 240 were given this year. As of Nov. 13, she added that the gifts were “all spoken for.” Typically, gifts include shawls, scarves, ornaments and small stuffed animals. Each gift will also receive a handmade Christmas card.

“I think that the community really steps up,” Grieve said. “Every year, the (Facebook) group gets larger and larger. More people join it and I’m just so pleased with the generosity of the people in the community … Some people are taking as many as four or five seniors at a time.”

She also said that students from Stonewall Collegiate Institute have also taken up the cause by donating gifts and helping to deliver them, as well.

For next year, Grieve is considering expanding Secret Santa For Seniors into the Selkirk and surrounding  area.

“If I were to do that, I would probably have to recruit some more volunteers to look after it for me,” she said.

For more information, visit the Secret Santa For Seniors Facebook page at: facebook.com/groups/121954595167815/.

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