Local seniors enjoyed a social lunch on Friday at Castlegar Community Services, and were then treated to gift bags they could fill with cookies, blankets, hats and mitts, jars of soup mix and toiletries to take home.
The luncheon has been put on for three years in a partnership between the Castlegar Community Response Network (CRN) and Castlegar Community Services.
“We started off with probably 30 gift bags that we made and had a few people here, and this year we’ve made 40 gift bags,” explained Sandi McCreight, coordinator for Castlegar CRN. “As well, we’ll make extra stuff from all of the stuff that’s left over here to take to other service providers to give to their isolated seniors.”
After enjoying a lunch of sandwiches, veggies and baked treats, seniors were given a gift bag with a gift inside and a layer of tissue paper on top to keep it a surprise. They were then able to take the gift bag and fill up the remaining space with baked goods prepared by volunteers from Operation Christmas, mason jars filled with everything needed to make soup — just add water — prepared by Selkirk College Social Service Worker program students and Castlegar & District Seniors Services, and blankets, hats, mitts, etc. and toiletries donated by members of the community and, in some cases, collected by the Castlegar Rebels for Project GWEN.
Seniors who attended seemed to enjoy the lunch and were thankful for the services provided by the Castlegar CRN and Castlegar Community Services throughout the year.
“I am so thankful that seniors are being recognized, and I’m especially thankful that Sandi is such a conscientious advocate for seniors,” said Marilyn Verigin, 76. “It’s wonderful because there are a lot of seniors that are alone and just not able to think of asking for help, and she somehow tends to know how to draw them out and get them attending things.”
“If you have to have advice and stuff like that, this is the place to come,” said Gordon Hermanson, 77. “The wife, she’s housebound … so when we have to have advice we come talk to Nicole [Purves] or Sandi.”