Residents in the community have the chance to spread some holiday cheer in a unique way this year.
The Riverbank Cares Committee, WestAmerica in Riverbank and O’Brien’s Market are joining forces again to keep a tradition alive: Adopt a Grandparent.
The program will work as it has in previous years: visit O’Brien’s Market or the WestAmerica Bank branch in Crossroads Shopping Center between now and Dec. 10 and you will find “ornaments” on the Christmas tree giving you information for a senior resident of the Riverbank Care Facility; their needs or wants are also included. Once you select the senior you want to ‘adopt’ this holiday season, it is important to record your choice with the staff of the market or the bank. This will allow for tracking so no one is left out. As you go about your holiday shopping, purchase the gifts and return them to the market or the bank, unwrapped, in a gift bag (please remember to return the “ornament” with the gift so Santa can reconcile his official check off list). Gifts should be returned no later than Tuesday, Dec. 10.
The need is always greater than the previous year; more of the population is living longer and not always able or equipped to care for themselves. The commitment from the community will be vital in caring for each person, making sure Santa leaves no one off his list. Each of the partners plays a large part in the project, and organizers said they need the community more than ever to make this a success.
“I have always had a soft spot for our elderly. Working together with our community partners is fulfilling a desire I’ve long had of letting our seniors know they are not forgotten,” said Carla Strong, manager of WestAmerica Bank. “It is also a way of honoring my late husband, Jerry, who originally was my inspiration to take part in this project. Our elderly often spend long lonely days in nursing facilities where one day runs into another.”
Strong said she realized the difference a little bit of caring made when she would speak with her mother, who was living in a care facility in North Carolina during the holiday season.
“Every day when I called she would tell me how much it meant to have visitors. I would always hear a smile in her voice when she told me about the small gifts that appeared on her bedside table when she awoke, or returned from therapy,” Strong explained. “Someone had thought about her. It didn’t matter that it was a total stranger; it meant the world to her.”
Having lost her mother a few years ago, Strong said it makes the success of this Adopt a Grandparent program that much more important to her.
She said it is amazing how small the requests are, for items as simple as lotion to a lap blanket, a radio to slippers or just a bottle of perfume.
Every effort is made to be sure that no one is forgotten and with the help of volunteers at the care facility the gifts are given out during their holiday gathering.
For those who do not have time to do the shopping, cash donations are accepted and the organizers will do the shopping for you. For additional information, contact WestAmerica Bank at 209-869-2469 or stop by O’Brien’s Market in Riverbank.