The holidays are typically focused on children having a season full of merriment and joy, leaving senior citizens on a tight budget often feeling forgotten and lonely.
Thankfully for a group of 34 senior citizens from the Sumner Commons, a low-income housing area for seniors, those at Home Instead Senior Care decided to give them a little something extra to be thankful for this holiday season.
As part of Home Instead’s nonprofit, Aging with Excellence, employees of Home Instead have the option to contribute $1 or more per paycheck, which is then used toward adopting a local senior housing facility for Christmas, said Lois Etienne, owner of Home Instead and founder of Aging with Excellence.
On Dec. 7, Etienne and members of her staff headed to the Sumner Senior Center to throw a surprise “Giving Party” for members of the Sumner Commons Community. The party included Christmas carols, holiday baked goods and a special Christmas gift for each in attendance.
As the special Christmas gift was handed to each resident in attendance, many muttered words of shock, and one resident even wondered if she was reading what the card said correctly.
We’ve never had anything like this happen (at Sumner Commons). It really brought us together.
Etienne and her staff gave each resident a $100 gift card to Fred Meyer for groceries, clothing, gas and other essentials.
“I can help other people with this,” said resident Dee Parish, 75. “It’s wonderful. At first I thought, ‘Is this right?’ I couldn’t believe it at first. It’ll help with groceries and everything else. It’ll just be helpful.”
The party brought residents together, something they say hasn’t happened since the housing community had a barbeque over the summer.
“We’ve never had anything like this happen (at Sumner Commons),” said Sumner Commons manager Betty Parker. “It really brought us together. It came at the perfect time for a lot of us.”