Gift drive gives holiday cheer to nursing home residentsAs the hectic holiday season is in full swing, shoppers at the Buffalo Mall will have the opportunity to donate gifts to local nursing home residents, through the Holiday Hearts for Homes effort.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
The idea behind the gift drive is to offer a present to every resident at Ave Maria Village, said its founder, Lori Lutz. And if there are presents left over, they will go to residents of Eventide at Hi-Acres.
“You hear so much about the old people who are just forgotten, and don’t have any family with them for the holidays,” Lutz said.
The project is meant to honor her father, Larry Evenson, who died 23 years ago at the age of 51, just before Thanksgiving.
Lutz, an early Christmas shopper, had already purchased presents for her father, and when she returned them, she used the money to buy gifts for others through an Angel Tree program.
“I can’t give dad his gifts, but I can give someone else them, in his memory,” Lutz said. “I thought it was a good thing to do.”
This year she decided to do a little more, and see if she could get together some presents for the elderly who live in nursing homes — some of whom won’t receive anything for Christmas.
To get a present to everyone at Ave Maria, Lutz will need about 150 gifts.
She has more than 40 presents, and has decided that if there aren’t enough donations, she will make up the difference herself.
So far the donated gifts have included slippers for men and women, bath products, lap-sized blankets, sugar-free candy, scented lotions, fuzzy socks, word find and crossword puzzle books and jigsaw puzzles.
Lutz is hoping to get donations of fleece material large enough for residents to make blankets from them.
When all the gifts are gathered, Lutz will give a list of them to the nursing home, whose employees will help figure out what gifts would be most enjoyable for which residents.
They will be distributed on Dec. 20, at a sing-along gathering that starts at 6:45 p.m.
“I’m going to ask some of them to share their favorite memories, as they were growing up at Christmas time,” Lutz said. “We’re going to have cookies and coffee and punch, and then we’re going to do the gift giveaway.”
A drop-off box for presents has been set up at Top Designers Salon & Spa at the Buffalo Mall. A 25 percent discount on products will be given when an item for the drive is donated.
The gift drive will end Dec. 15, so that every present can be wrapped. Lutz hopes to continue the effort next year, and is already looking for local businesses to help sponsor the drive.
In the meantime, people interested in donating presents may contact Lutz at 952-3033 or search for Holiday Hearts for Homes at facebook.com.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at