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A quick response to St. Joseph Hospital's long-term care Secret Santa

The third annual initiative saw each resident of long-term care receive a gift from somebody in the community.
Evangeline Hoste Senior Living
Evangeline Hoste and other residents of the St. Joseph’s Hospital’s long-term care ward will once again benefit from the generosity of the community through a Secret Santa initiative.

ESTEVAN - The St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation’s Secret Santa Long-Term Care Edition has quickly become a hit with the community.

The third annual initiative saw each resident of long-term care receive a gift from somebody in the community.

As part of the Secret Santa, on Dec. 7, the hospital foundation posted photos and Christmas wish lists for residents in the special care home, so that members of the community could purchase a gift for the resident of their choice.

“We had 36 residents that were willing to participate, and those residents were all chosen within a couple of hours of being posted on our Facebook page,” said St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation executive director Breanne Van De Woestyne. “It’s just an exciting initiative that we thought of, just to really get some excitement in the long-term care department while the holiday season approaches, and it was really just a great way to get the community together to really celebrate those seniors and bring some Christmas joy to the hospital.”
Those wish lists included hobbies, things they enjoy, their favourite colour, their favourite sports team and more.

They had more people offer to purchase a gift than residents who wanted to participate.

“As soon as we post, people are commenting immediately, so it’s a really exciting day for us to see how it fills up, and I know the staff in long-term care are just as excited,” said Van De Woestyne.

People want to help out, especially during the Christmas season, and this gives people the opportunity to do something fun, and bring Christmas cheer to somebody they might not even know.

The gifts were delivered to the residents on Christmas day, and it’s always an exciting time for staff and residents alike.

“I know the staff in long-term care really make it truly special for them. They’re very passionate about the residents there, and want to make them feel special and really just welcome in their own little community down there,” said Van De Woestyne. “So, having the entire community of Estevan and area getting involved with those gifts, it makes it special for them. They feel really included on Christmas day, and they really, really appreciate it.”

GenCo Asphalt, who sponsors the Secret Santa promotion, always contributes something to add to the residents’ enjoyment of Christmas. This year they purchased a special lunch for all of the people in long-term care, and the residents selected Chinese food. The meal was enjoyed on Dec. 22.

Schools sent Christmas cards and other gifts to the residents prior to Christmas.