‘A wonderful community’
TRUCKEE “-Bob and Lauri Heath pushed a shopping cart full of stuffed stockings and Christmas gifts through the snowy corridors of the Truckee Donner Senior Citizens Apartments.
With a Santa hat atop his head, Bob said this is the second year he and his wife have distributed gifts for the Adopt-a-Senior program, part of the Truckee Community Christmas last weekend.
Last year, while Bob was handing out gifts, he came upon a gentleman who received a microwave oven as one of his wishes. Since the man was physically unable to set the microwave up himself, Bob said he stopped what he was doing to take the gift out of the box and set it up for the elderly gentleman.
“The man was very happy,” he said.
This year, Bob and Lauri were greeted with the same gratitude as they distributed presents throughout the senior apartments. Behind each gift a caring member of the community; behind each door a smiling face to accept it.
The Adopt-a-Senior program, which includes the distribution of gifts and a Meals on Wheels food delivery program, was organized and run by Patti Bena and a number of community volunteers.
Truckee community members, the Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund, and the Truckee Community Foundation were responsible for donating most of the gifts and food given to the seniors this year.
“I have never seen such a wonderful community,” said Bena. “You ask for one thing and they give you seven.”
In early December, adopted seniors were asked to rank their top 3 Christmas wishes.
Even though the seniors did not expect anything, many of them had all three wishes granted, something that has not always happened in the past, said Lauri.
While most of the wishes were very modest ” just a stocking or maybe a pair of comfortable socks ” volunteers went out of their way to bring Truckee seniors a special Christmas.
“Some of the seniors hate to ask for too much so we sometimes have to coax it out of them,” a volunteer said.
Other seniors, however, had more specific wishes in mind.
“I want my youth and strength back,” one woman wrote as her third wish.
“I’m 86, who cares?” said one senior. “I want some chocolate.”
Unfortunately, the senior was diabetic and not allowed to eat chocolate. Not to deny an aching sweet tooth, volunteers collected an assortment of sugar free candy to give to the woman instead.
One of the most expensive wishes was a season’s snow removal service an elderly man requested for his home in Tahoe Donner. The wish was granted and paid in full by a member of the community.
“It’s amazing that someone donated that,” said a volunteer. “The snow removal service will even come and shovel the walkways for him.”
In addition to gifts and stockings, many of the seniors received packages of food for the holidays, a part of the Meals on Wheels program.
All of the home-delivered meal recipients are homebound and only have a simple kitchenette ” microwaves, toasters, refrigerators and freezers.
The Queen of Hearts Foundations donated and packaged nearly 60 bags of food for this Christmas’ Meals on Wheels distribution. Community donations were also collected at the Truckee Community Christmas earlier on Saturday.
Meal packages included items like instant oatmeal, ensure drinks, canned soups with pull tops, paper goods, and personal toiletry items.
As many of the volunteers mentioned throughout the day, it was the community that made everything possible, putting themselves second to bring joy to others.
“The people’s hearts that live in this community are larger than the mountains that surround us,” said Bena.