Lee Brinkman (left) and Abby MacNeish

Lee Brinkman (left) and Abby MacNeish

Christmas gift for low-income seniors

Making Spirits Merry and Bright is a new program that invites low-income seniors to make a Christmas wish

Seniors have given so much for so long. Now the community wants to give back to those who may find themselves in a situation where they will not be receiving a Christmas gift.

The Making Spirits Merry and Bright Campaign lets people over 60 who are living alone on a low income and struggling to meet expenses make their wish for a specific item or for a gift certificate to a particular business. This will be posted online (no real names will be used) and those want to give can choose to make dreams come true.

“People I’ve talked to think it’s a fantastic idea and want to take part. We have already had some people register and I know there are more who would like to have a gift but might hesitate to ask. Someone who called told me it was hard to do because of always having been a giver and being uncomfortable being on the receiving end but we were able to get her wish online,” said Lee Brinkman, who with Abby MacNeish, both seniors’ services coordinators with Nexus BC, is overseeing the program.

“I got the idea from hearing about a program that gave homeless people what it was they specifically wanted. One man there wanted a pair of work boots so he could go back to work. It is satisfying to think of people getting what they really want and need.”

There are already a number of wishes on the Making Spirits Bright Campaign website, ranging from gift certificates for groceries, a gift certificate for a veterinarian, snowshoes, a place to rent, steak for a treat, to a tin of oysters for New Year’s Day. One person added the comment: “I am excited to be part of this campaign because I never get Christmas presents.”

MacNeish said people might hesitate to ask because they might not want to be a burden.

“It’s how they grew up. But there are people waiting to provide their wishes,” she said. “We just have to know what people want and match them with the people who want to give. We want to give people a little smile on Christmas morning.”

Gifts will be delivered through the Nexus centre and the people involved will not meet personally.

People who want to make a Christmas wish can contact Brinkman or MacNeish at the Seniors Services Program at 250-545-0585 or email seniors@nexusbc.ca. People who want to make wishes come true can see www.merryandbright.ca for stories about what is needed to make the holiday special and how to help.