Simple gifts bring Christmas joy to Langley seniors

Getting gifts to seniors in need at Christmas is a task that requires many partners.

Part of Envision Financial’s Full Cupboard Holiday Program is collecting gifts for children, seniors, and food and cash donations for local food banks.

For getting gifts to families and kids, the Full Cupboard partners with groups like the Langley Christmas Bureau, and the Langley Food Bank shelves get a boost from the food.

For seniors, local groups like the Langley Lodge and the Langley Seniors Resource Centre are key to identifying and serving seniors at the holidays.

For many seniors on a fixed income, it can be a long wait between pension cheques around December, said Janice McTaggard, director of outreach and volunteer services at the Langley Seniors Resource Centre.

“We have a lot of seniors on the basic income,” McTaggard said.

The Seniors Centre acts in concert with both large groups like Envision, and with individuals who offer to fill up a gift hamper or two.

The centre mainly helps identify the seniors who would benefit the most from some Christmas charity, said McTaggard. They also often help out with the delivery, especially if the seniors want to maintain their privacy.

What goes into a hamper for seniors?

Many gifts come in the form of foods, whether relatively basic things or special treats.

When buying those items, gift-givers have to be aware of special dietary restrictions for the recipients, said McTaggard.

Clothing is another popular gift.

“We’ve had housecoats, pajamas, socks and warm weather gear,” McTaggard said.

The seniors are very grateful of the help.

“It’s definitely highly appreciated by the people who receive something,” McTaggard said.

There are some seniors who may not want to receive any charity around the holiday season, out of pride, while others may not want anyone to know of their straitened circumstances.

Gift giving can be complicated by more than these factors, though. One senior received a package of food and wound up giving most of it away to his friends and neighbours – his small fridge in his apartment was simply not big enough to contain everything he received in his hamper, said McTaggard.

That situation actually turned out well for the recipient. He was able to become a gift-giver in turn to others.

“The result of that was that he felt really good,” said McTaggard.

There may not be much awareness about the number of seniors in need in Langley, but it is there.

Langley City in particular has a large number of seniors living in subsidized housing or on some kind of assistance, and the demographic shift now underway means the population of seniors will only increase in the coming years.

Multiple groups are involved in seniors giving. Locally the Enjoy Life Chiropractic clinic has been gathering items such as gift cards and monetary donations, and You’ve Got to Have Friends supports seniors, the disabled, and others in the Langleys. the White Rock-based Be a Santa to a

Senior also distributes goods around the region.

To donate, contact the Langley Seniors Resource Centre at 604-530-3020, or drop by any Envision Financial branch, or visit the Langley Advance office at 6374 202 Street. Donors can bring unwrapped, new toys, food, or financial donations.

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