In an effort to bring holiday cheer to seniors this season, the Anne M. Scully Senior Center is helping put together a Secret Santa program.
Rachel Gerold, an outreach director at the center, is helping to organize the program. “We have a list of people that we deliver meals to weekly that we’re giving the presents to,” Gerold explained. “We’re taking donations” to distribute to those seniors.
Anyone can donate an item; there is a bin in front of the senior center, located at 197A Samoset Ave., where donations can be dropped off on Wednesdays.
“We’ve had an overwhelming amount of donations,” Gerold reported, noting that the outpouring has “just been phenomenal.”
“Whatever somebody thinks that the senior might like” is suitable for a donation as long as it is new, she said. Suggested donations include blankets, crossword puzzles, and lotions. “We want to be able to give people something of their own.”
The goal of the Secret Santa program is to make seniors know that “someone is thinking of them,” Gerold said. “They’re just having a tough time [and] they’re not having a ton of joy” during the coronavirus pandemic. The idea for the program came from a volunteer, according to Gerold. “We are working together as a team of volunteers. … I’m helping facilitate,” she said. The volunteers are “really crucial to this program and getting it up and going.”
This is the first year that the senior center has accepted Secret Santa donations, and Gerold hopes it will not be the last. “We’re hoping to see how it goes this year,” she said. “We’re really excited about it.
“It’s a weird time, but we’re doing all types of projects to help people feel not so lonely.”
For more information about the program, visit the Friends of the Anne Scully Center Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/FriendsoftheAnneScullyCenter/posts/.