We just had another successful ‘Gift Giving Event’. This is the second year we have organized this event on its own. Years ago we started doing it as part of our annual Christmas party but it just got too big, too much to do both. The concept turned out to be popular.
The idea is that the CARMA team provides a selection of items laid out on tables, at the right level for a person in a wheelchair to view. We buy, or acquire through donations, a big range of items from chocolates, scarves, bracelets to kids items. Residents wheel around all the tables, with a volunteer to help them shop – though everything is free, they get to browse and choose gifts to give loved ones. Then we have a gift wrapping area and card writing section. Residents come away with cards and gifts to give or mail to friends and family.
Many residents do not shop much out in the community – the barriers to regular shopping are both physical (wheelchair doesn’t fit into store aisles) and emotional (it can be uncomfortable to deal with able bodied folks with no patience for you). As well, the time it takes to go out to a shopping area can take the whole day, which can be exhausting. Online shopping works for some, but it is still nice to be able to see an item up close before deciding to get it as a gift.
One of the things that can happen to a person who starts receiving care and has little opportunity to give is that they miss giving. It is an essential part of being human. It feels good to give. This event may be simple and small but the effect can be profound. A resident who was sending gifts to all her grandkids expressed such joy in selecting gifts for each child, and labeling the wrapped gift with their name. She said “This year, the grandkids will be so excited to see a gift from Grandma! It makes me so happy”.