Local church group helps make Burnbrae Gardens’ Christmas extra special

‘It was a real heartwarming little event that they created’

It was an extra special Christmas at Burnbrae Gardens this past holiday season – and one filled with community support – when members of St. John’s United Church dropped by the Campbellford long-term care home Dec. 20 with loads of gifts residents had requested.

The church members were led by Jo Ryan, who donned a dinosaur costume adorned with an array of decorations “which residents thought was pretty cool,” says Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator April Faux.

April was approached by Jo in October about a new initiative the church was starting that would see members hand out gifts to groups in Campbellford.

April filled out a form outlining each resident’s likes and needs to ensure they’d get the gifts they wanted.

The list of gifts Burnbrae Gardens residents and others in the community had anonymously requested through the initiative were put on Christmas trees at the Campbellford BMO branch and at Trent Valley Lanes.

People in the community brought the gifts and returned them to the church, and the church members distributed them to the home and to other places in town.

Gifts ranged from dolls to slippers to chocolates to Beatles CDs. Each of the 43 residents received a box of gifts.

“The residents were so impressed that the gifts were personalized,” April says.

“There was lots of laughter and lots of tears – good tears. It was a real heartwarming little event that they created. They really went above and beyond.”

Jo says feedback from the community has been supportive of the project, with people asking how they can help throughout the year.

She says the church intends to run this program every Christmas.

“We’re excited to do this again and to get more people on board, and a lot of businesses really want to get behind it to see what they can do throughout the year,” Jo says.

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