Castlegar Community Response Network was at three Castlegar Rebel’s games recently collecting donations for Project GWEN, an acronym for Giving What Elders Need. Not only did they collect four full boxes of specially requested items for seniors gift bags, but also nearly $200 in cash donations. “Thank you Rebels, and to all of you who participated in the Rebels Angel Tree. You make a difference,” said Project GWEN coordinator Sandi McCreight.
“Make no mistake, we have seniors in our community who are alone, isolated and may be at risk of abuse or neglect. While there are others who are safe but for various reasons spend the holidays without company or gifts,” said McCreight.
The Community Response Network (CRN) is a non-profit provincial organization that focuses on the prevention of elder abuse through education and awareness. Castlegar Community Services is the host agency for the local branch of the CRN.
McCreight came up with the idea for Project GWEN, which she named after her mother. She was inspired after her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago. “I decided I needed to do something here, because I could not help my mom who lived in Penticton. She gave me the first hundred dollar donation,” said McCreight. “So the project is very close to my heart.”
Project GWEN supports local seniors by providing gifts both practical and fun to as many seniors as they are able. They collected items ranging from hand made blankets, mitts and scarves, to crossword books, flashlights, pens and chocolates. The items are then put together into gift bags and hand delivered, which is always a highlight for McCreight. “‘It’s the best thing I have ever done for me,” she said.
At Christmas time GWEN focuses on gift baskets, but runs all year round. Working to meet senior’s needs that they hear about through referrals. “We try to provide seniors with a resource for things not covered elsewhere,” explained McCreight. In the past GWEN has helped with a variety of basic household needs to health related items such as eyeglasses and vision exams and services related to dental and hearing.
If you would like to make a donation to Project GWEN or to volunteer, contact Sandi McCreight at 250-365-2104, ext. 23 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.