The Lloydminster and District Co-op is bringing back their Spread a Little Campaign for its third year.
People are asked to pick an ornament from the tree at the Lloyd Co-op Marketplace or the Neilburg Co-op grocery store which shares the senior’s Christmas wish item. Once the gift is purchased you bring it back to the location you picked the ornament from.
“I keep looking back to our seniors being the ones that built these communities. It’s the foundation on which all the communities that we’re apart of, were all built on their selfless efforts and their dedication, not just to their own families but the communities at large, to their neighbors. Having a chance to recognize their efforts, I think this is just a great initiative,” says Lloyd Co-op CEO Don Stephenson.
When describing the day they deliver the gifts an emotional Stephenson says, “I think just the idea of everyone gathering at the home and everybody getting their gifts. It truly is a heart warming event. I know for each of them it means a lot.”
Prairie North Health Region Director of Continuing CareDr. Lyle Grant says, “generally [the reactions are] one of joy. It’s a great sort of community connection and I think that’s where most of the value is. It reminds them they’re connected to their communities, these are communities that they built and that they were active participants in.”
Stephenson adds that a lot of the times this is the only gift the senior will get.
“You have some seniors without family, some family that obviously gets spread out. I know when we go drop off the gits, I know that it touches a lot of hearts.”
Stephenson says a lot of the times it is families with small children picking up ornaments.
“I think it does embody what Christmas is supposed to be all about. Which is the idea of giving, not with the idea of some reciprocal receipt of a gift in kind. It’s an opportunity for families to step up with their kids and say this what it’s supposed to be about.”
Many of the ornaments feature simple gift requests like socks, shampoo, chocolates or cookies. Grant says it really is the thought that counts.
“The simple gifts are often the most meaningful for people. They don’t have a lot of need for lots of things anymore and so it’s the simple pleasures of the exchange of the gift of the thought that comes with it. They tell me that often people will include personalized cards and drawings those are all very meaningful to seniors.
The Co-Op has continued to expand the program since it launched in 2015. It started with 550 seniors in 6 communities from 12 different senior homes. Co-Op says the ornaments were gone in less than a week. This year over 600 seniors in 13 different senior homes from six different communities will receive a gift.
“We’ve gone through some tough economic times here in Lloydminster and surrounding area and for people to step up and support the seniors in our community, I think just speaks volumes of the communities we live in,” says Stephenson.
The facilities include Dr. Cooke Extended Care Centre, Dr. Hemstock, Hearthstone Place, Jubilee Home, Lloydminster Continuing Care, Manitou Housing in Neilburg, Southview Manor in Marsden, Paradise Hill Care Home, Pine Island Lodge in Maidstone, Pioneer Lodge and Pioneer House, Points West Living and Tighnduin Home in Lashburn.
The campaign runs until December 1. The gifts will be delivered before Christmas Day.