Prince George’s Elves for Elders is again working hard to make the season brighter for seniors, and this year the group has the support of four elementary schools.
Elves for Elders was founded in 2016 by Prince George resident Kari Gaddy; it works with various organizations throughout the city to identify seniors in need, acting as a secret Santa to fulfill their wish list.
The group also runs an Elves for Elders Stocking Program, where volunteers fill stockings and distribute them to local senior's homes and agencies.
“We had four schools step up,” says Gaddy this afternoon (Dec.15) at the Elves for Elders stocking organization day at the Coast Inn of the North. “A lot of this here is from École Lac de Bois, Springwood, Peden Hill and Heather Park, along with other donors.”
A team of about 20 volunteers fill the stockings with everything from toothbrushes and toothpaste, to soap, deodorant, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, body wash, combs, manicure sets, candy, treats, cards, books, socks, toques and scarves.
“Prince George has been amazing they have stepped up a lot. The last couple of years have been pretty successful,” says Gaddy, adding that the group was able to reach 392 seniors last year.
“The industry isn’t really good right now for a lot of people and so that has been a drawback this year. But we are hoping we have done very well. The schools — their donations have really helped make a success this year and have been very integral to our stocking program.”
École Lac de Bois, in particular, donated about 150 stockings, plus a few extra items.
“We were looking or a way to give back to the community. We have very generous families who are always willing to step up and support the community in whatever we choose to do,” says École Lac de Bois teacher Megan Cleaveley.
“I saw the opportunity on Facebook and we had lots of teachers that were interested in participating and we had a great response from our families this year.”
She says the students were excited to put themselves in the seniors' shoes and decide what products they might want and make up the stockings together.
For Gaddy, she keeps the Elves for Elders program running each year in memory of her parents.
“It helps me because one day I might be lonely and it helps me through the rough part of the season where I don’t have my family,” says Gaddy.
“There’s a lot of seniors out there that are lonely, very lonely. It just really means something to them that they have something to open on Christmas and that someone is thinking of them and reaching out to them.”