Spe­cial tree back at Bayshore

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - FRONT PAGE - ROB GOWAN

A lo­cal ini­tia­tive to en­sure res­i­dents at some Owen Sound-area se­niors homes are not for­got­ten dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son is set to kick off.

The Bells of Christ­mas tree will be set up Satur­day in the lobby at the Harry Lum­ley Bayshore Com­mu­nity Cen­tre for a third straight year. The tree will in­clude lo­cally made white cro­cheted bells at­tached to a piece of pa­per that in­cludes the first name of a se­nior and gift sug­ges­tions for them. This year’s tree in­cludes 118 cro­cheted bells, which is up from 109 last year and 80 in the first year.

“These are peo­ple who don’t get a visit all year,” said an or­ga­nizer of the event, who wishes to re­main anony­mous. “They are lonely peo­ple and sub­se­quently they don’t get gifts at Christ­mas-time.”

Once the tree is set up, passersby are en­cour­aged to take a bell from the tree, pur­chase a gift, wrap it, at­tach the tag to the gift and place it in a col­lec­tion box be­side the tree by Nov. 27.

The or­ga­nizer said this year there are 11 se­niors homes in­volved and the se­niors on the tags ask for a va­ri­ety of items, in­clud­ing shirts, pa­ja­mas, socks, track pants, a blan­ket or sports mem­o­ra­bilia. “Some say they would be thank­ful for any­thing,” said the or­ga­nizer. “Peo­ple can use their own judg­ment.”

The or­ga­nizer said it is all done anony­mously so those re­ceiv­ing gifts don’t feel self-con­scious should they come across an or­ga­nizer or those buy­ing the gifts. It also makes it feel more gen­uine, as if the gift is com­ing from the North Pole.

“I think as peo­ple get older some­times they re­vert back to their child­hood and Santa Claus is im­por­tant to them,” said the or­ga­nizer. “That is why I like them to think that Santa did come.”

The or­ga­nizer said the idea for the ini­tia­tive came about af­ter peo­ple were heard com­ment­ing about peo­ple in lo­cal se­niors fa­cil­i­ties who never see vis­i­tors.

“I thought, in this lit­tle town of ours that is a pretty sad com­men­tary,” the or­ga­nizer said. “So I thought maybe this would be a way around it.”

The ini­tia­tive was ex­tremely suc­cess­ful the first two years it was held as the bells were quickly claimed by Good Sa­mar­i­tans want­ing to brighten Christ­mas for a lo­cal se­nior.

“It is just from the heart,” said the or­ga­nizer. “It is peo­ple car­ing about peo­ple.”

The or­ga­nizer said the peo­ple who take the bells come from all over, and some take mul­ti­ple bells. The or­ga­nizer knows one per­son who has said she wants to get gifts for three men and three women this year.

“They re­ally seem to en­joy it. The re­sponse has been ab­so­lutely awe­some,” the or­ga­nizer said.

The tree will go up on Satur­day in time for a pair of Owen Sound At­tack hockey games that will be at the Lum­ley-Bayshore on the week­end.

Along with the cro­cheted bells, there will be gold, sil­ver and red bells that will stay on the tree through­out the Christ­mas sea­son. The tree will also be lit up af­ter Re­mem­brance Day on Sun­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.