Rainycrest launches Tree of Giving for Christmas season


There is an opportunity to brighten the Christmas of the residents of the Rainycrest Long Term Care Centre. This is the third year for the Tree of Christmas Giving at the centre.

The initiative has gone over well the last few years, Kathryn Pierroz, communications coordinator with Riverside Healthcare, said.

“We had great success the last two years with our Tree of Christmas Giving with an outpouring of generosity from our community,” Pierroz said. “The team at Rainycrest couldn’t keep ornaments on the tree last year.”

The hope for this initiative is that residents who don’t have family or friends close by will receive gifts this holiday season, Pierroz says.

“Not all of our residents have loved ones who live in the area and COVID concerns, travel costs and restrictions continue to have added limitations on residents seeing their family and friends during the holiday season,” Pierroz said. “Unfortunately, in some cases our residents don’t have any living relatives or friends outside of the Home. This initiative brings some comfort through a thoughtful gift that they might not otherwise receive.”

There is a Christmas tree in the vestibule of the home that is decorated with paper ornaments that have the room number, gender and clothes sizes of the residents.

Suggestions for gifts include: rubber soled slippers; shawls or easy fitting sweaters, blankets, Special Adaptive Clothing with open backed tops and bottoms- Overall snaps ,Velcro; are more user friendly for clothing; electric shavers; woodworking kits; music related items; small CD players; Audio books; Adult colouring books; Magazines-large print; Hair accessories such as combs and brushes; small new plush stuffed animals, battery operated candles.

They ask that no one give any gifts that are scented as the facility is designated as scent free. Also, they ask people to refrain from giving non-grip slippers and socks and breakable or sharp items, or live plants.

The gifts are a reminder of the community support the home receives. The gifts and a visit from the big man in red are a boost of Christmas spirit for residents, Julie Loveday, Executive Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive, said.

“Riverside continues to be grateful for the support and generosity we receive,when it comes to initiatives that benefit our long-term care residents,” Loveday said. “The Tree of Christmas Giving provides them with a special visit from Santa, brings many smiles to our residents’ faces and reminds them that their community cares.”

COVID-19 precautions are in place for those stopping by to choose a resident’s ornament. The Tree is located in the front entrance vestibule at Rainycrest which is separate from the main entrance of the building. People can enter the vestibule without entering the home.

Masks are required inside the facility even if only in the vestibule and social distancing is always encouraged along with hand hygiene.

The vestibule for choosing a tag or dropping off a gift is open to the public Monday – Friday 8:30am – 4:00pm.

Gifts need to be purchased and dropped off back at the home by Dec. 21 at 4:00 p.m. they should be dropped off unwrapped with the tree tag attached. They can also be in unsealed Christmas gift bags.

Heidi Loney, Resident Experience and Activation Coordinator, says giving a gift and making someone’s day can be one of the best gifts people receive this year.

“The joy of brightening others’ lives is the best gift of the Christmas season,” Loney said. “We want to ensure each resident has the pleasure of receiving a gift that will be hand delivered by Santa.”