A local campaign aims to provide Christmas gifts to brighten up the holiday season for seniors living in nursing homes in northern Maine.
FORT KENT, Maine – A local campaign aims to provide Christmas gifts to brighten up the holiday season for seniors living in nursing homes in northern Maine.
Fort Kent’s Nikki Shields agency is sponsoring a drive for Santa Claus gifts for the elderly for interested residents of 26 licensed nursing homes in Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties.
“Everyone organizes toy drives for children, but no one thinks of the elderly in nursing homes with no family or friends,” said event organizer Crystal Condo. “They see other residents receiving gifts from loved ones and this increases the depression and loneliness they feel, especially during the holidays.”
Condo said the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly isolated residents of nursing homes.
“Their interactions with each other have been restricted, their time with staff has been limited and volunteers have not been allowed in for most of the past nearly two years,” she said.
Nursing home staff provided Condo with general information about residents who would like to receive gifts.
“To be HIPAA compliant, we just asked for age, gender, clothing size and wishlist items,” Condo said.
Many of the specified gifts are personal items such as toiletries and clothing. Some residents would also like to receive sweets and other snacks.
Members of the public can select a senior for whom to give gifts by visiting the Nikki Shields agency Facebook page. An article on the page contains pictures of angels with information and wish lists for each senior. To choose one, leave a comment saying “Adopted”.
So far 25 residents have signed up for Santa Claus for Seniors with more being added daily.
If people can’t adopt a senior to shop, they can always help out by selecting an item on Amazon Santa for Seniors. wish list or by donating basic items like coloring books and word searches. Homemade handcrafted items are also welcome, although homemade food items are not accepted.
Gifts can also be dropped off or shipped to Nikki Shields agency, 54 E Main Street, Fort Kent, ME 04743.
All items must be in the office by December 15th to be distributed to residents in time for Christmas.
For more information, contact Crystal Condo at 1-207-834-1180, by email at [email protected], or send a message to the Nikki Shields agency’s Facebook page.