Each year, the VNA uses the holidays and it’s spirit of giving to shed light on their Christmas for the Elderly drive. With a focused effort on raising funds for the cause, the spirit of giving shines through during the colder months of the year.
The fundraiser, which works to bring necessary items to elderly people who cannot afford them, focuses on warming the hearts of many with just a bit of giving on everyone’s part.
“Back in the late ‘80s, the VNA had nurses with patients who had needs outside of healthcare. For instance, maybe the stove was broken, or heat not working, or they needed assistance with groceries. A lot of times the nurses were taking money out of their own pockets to help,” explained Maria Galka, Director of Development for the VNA. “It’s a program for people 55 and older who have low finances and a need that we can help meet.”
Though the program is called Christmas for the Elderly, the funding is used year round to meet the needs of elderly people who are otherwise unable to help themselves. In the past, the VNA has been able to raise around $30,000 each year through generous donations provided by members of the community, and have put that money to use providing stoves, refrigerators, coats, new lift chairs, or a myriad of other needed items.
“We’ve been blessed by this community. Over the last few years we’ve raised around $30,000 each year and the money is put to such good use,” said Galka. “While something like a lift chair doesn’t seem like a big deal, it’s important because someone who can’t get up can’t move. With that lift chair, they are able to maintain mobility. That’s really important as they age.”
The funding has gone toward many useful things like medication or mattresses, but has also had the opportunity to provide quality of life events for people. For those in need, sometimes the smallest gesture can make the largest impact.
“We had a couple married for 60 years, and thanks to donations, they both got a haircut and we sent them and their companion out to dinner at Rodini’s, who donated the meal. It turned out that it was where they had their first date,” said Galka. “Those are the kinds of things the program is able to do, it’s usually more needs, but occasionally we’ll do quality of life things as well.”
With such heartwarming stories, it’s no wonder the VNA is eager to keep the program running each year. The appreciation from those receiving the gift is always apparent as well, according to Galka.
“We see tears and laughter; it’s honestly mostly tears because they are so grateful for the help. Sometimes they don’t know where to turn and when they find out they can turn to the VNA and get help, they’re just so grateful,” said Galka.
While the drive is emphasized during the holidays, the VNA accepts donations year round. For more information, or to donate, click here!