Kamloops woman aims to brighten Christmas for seniors

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KAMLOOPS – A Kamloops woman was inspired to help seniors at Christmas when her own mother moved into a seniors complex.

Jacki Andersen has been organizing a Secret Santa on Christmas Eve for the past three years at the Greenfield Seniors Apartments. This year she will be teaming with the Centre for Seniors Information at LeJeune Manor to deliver presents for 55 people.

She noticed how many people were alone during the holidays at her mother’s complex because they didn't have family in the city so organized a Secret Santa delivery. They tucked a few small items, along with a handmade Christmas card, into stockings which they hung on the residents' doors, she says.

The stockings were discovered Christmas morning and were a surprise to even Andersen’s mom who phoned her daughter excited by what she and the other residents had discovered.

“My mom did put details together and discovered it was us, so the secret part of the Santa project was blown,” Andersen laughs.

There was such a positive response to the Secret Santa she decided to turn it into a holiday tradition. She has teamed up with friends and local businesses who have donated items to stuff stockings with. She has received so many donations the stockings have evolved into cloth shopping bags.

Andersen says the Secret Santa project has become a great way for her entire family to celebrate the holidays because it takes the focus off of getting, and back to giving.

“This project is our way of spreading smiles to folks who have no doubt spread many, many smiles over their years and are delighted to be visited by Santa Christmas Eve."

Andersen wants to spoil the people on her list this year and is asking for donations of items that include — but are not limited to — soaps, deodorant, Kleenex, socks, mittens, scarves, pocket books, puzzle books, calendars, pens, stuffed toys and fresh baking.

For more information about the Secret Santa project, visit the Facebook page.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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