Seniors centre, VON organize 2023 Christmas stocking program

MAPLETON – The Seniors’ Centre for Excellence (SCE) and Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) have teamed up for their fifth year of providing Christmas stockings to north Wellington seniors “needing a lift” this holiday season.

“It’s for people who may not get a gift, people who are living alone, people who have had a really rough year … or they’ve been diagnosed with a chronic disease or cancer,” said SCE program coordinator Helen Edwards.

This year, SCE and VON (Waterloo Wellington Dufferin – Mount Forest office) created 82 stockings to give out to seniors, a number that is up from previous years.

The deadline to give a senior a stocking was Dec. 8 and some stocking deliveries have already started. More will be delivered this week, just in time for Christmas.

VON receives referrals to the Christmas stocking program from Intensive Geriatric Services workers, from the Canadian Mental Health Association and from other community partners – and sends them to the SCE.

The seniors’ centre also sent out information about the program via Facebook.

“This year, more than 60 of our stockings were sponsored by individuals out in the community,” said Edwards.

“We had people contact us and say, ‘I’d like to sponsor a stocking’ and then respecting the person’s confidentiality, we were able to disclose some of the things about the [recipient]… so that when the people were out shopping… they knew that the gifts they were selecting for the recipient would have special meaning to them.”

Edwards noted the response from local businesses and individuals this year was “just amazing.”

“In these tough economic times, there are still people that are able to help out and I think that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in north Wellington,” she said.