The West Springfield Council on Aging and the Atrium at Cardinal Drive are requesting help to gift local homebound seniors joy, happiness and a little bit of holiday magic this season.
The 14th annual Stocking for Seniors holiday drive will be collecting small item donations through Dec. 14 at the West Springfield Senior Center, the Atrium at Cardinal Drive, 153 Cardinal Drive in Agawam, and Orchard Valley at Wilbraham, 2387 Boston Road.
Items requested include socks, “knit hats, scarves, batteries, gift cards, puzzle books, flashlights, nightlights, nail clippers, emery boards, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand lotion, candy, stamps, some just for fun holiday items” and more, according to the council.
Allison Baker, director of community relations at the Atrium at Cardinal Drive, has been involved with the drive for more than six years. She said over the past 14 years, the drive has distributed over 2,500 stockings to local seniors in need.
Depending on the amount of donations received, as many as 100 to 250 seniors will be gifted a stocking this year, she said.
“Around the holiday there are many fundraisers for children and many times seniors are forgotten, especially if they are housebound and not able to get out,” Baker said. “It is great to extend a little joy and holiday magic and it is something not expected that is extra with their meal, that brings a smile to their face.”
The importance of programs and drives for the senior population is especially important now because of the impact of COVID-19, as some may be homebound, isolated and not have been able to get together, Baker told The Republican.
“It is important work because this is the population that is the most impacted by isolation, this is a way to show them that they are not forgotten and that there are people who does care,” she said. “
Stockings will be stuffed using the donation items and distributed to participants of the West Springfield’s Council on Aging Meals on Wheels.
“During the season of giving, this drive is making sure that we don’t forget those who may not be as involved as they used to,” Baker said. “It is taking care of those, who have taken care of us and brining the senior population some of that magic of Christmas, not just something you find every day.”