Santa for Seniors will bring Christmas gifts to nursing home residents
FORT KENT, Maine — A local drive aims to provide Christmas gifts to brighten the holiday season for seniors living in northern Maine nursing homes.
Nikki Shields Agency of Fort Kent is sponsoring a Santa for Seniors gift drive for interested residents of 26 licensed nursing homes in Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties.
“Everyone does toy drives for kids, but no one thinks about the seniors in nursing homes with no family or friends,” event organizer Crystal Condo said. “They see other residents getting gifts from loved ones and it increases the depression and loneliness they feel, especially during the holidays.”
Condo said the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly isolating for nursing home residents.
“Their interactions with each other have been restricted, their time with staff has been limited and the volunteers have not been allowed in for most of the last almost two years,” she said.
Nursing home staff provided Condo with general information about residents who would like to receive gifts.
“To be HIPAA compliant we just asked for age, gender, clothing sizes and wishlist items,” Condo said.
Many of the specified gifts are personal items such as toiletries and clothing. Some residents would also like to receive candy and other snacks.
Members of the public can select a senior to provide gifts for by visiting the Nikki Shields Agency Facebook page. A post on the page has photos of angels with information and the wish lists for each senior. To choose one, leave a comment saying “Adopted.”
So far there are 25 residents signed up for Santa for Seniors with more being added daily.
If people can’t adopt an individual senior to shop for, they can still help out by selecting an item off the Santa for Seniors Amazon wish list or by donating basic items like coloring books and word searches. Homemade craft items are also welcome donations, although homemade food items cannot be accepted.
Gifts can also be dropped off at or shipped to Nikki Shields Agency, 54 E Main Street, Fort Kent, ME 04743.
All items must be at the office by Dec. 15 to be distributed to the residents in time for Christmas.
For more information, contact Crystal Condo at 1-207-834-1180, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a message to the Nikki Shields Agency Facebook page.