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Community Caregivers spreads joy to the elderly

Union Leader Correspondent

December 18. 2013 8:24PM
Some of the gifts collected this year by area organizations for distribution to seniors during the holiday season are shown in an office at Community Caregivers on Monday. (Hunter McGee/Union Leader Correspondent)

DERRY — Through a gift-giving program, some area organizations are bringing holiday cheer to the doorsteps of home-bound seniors and the disabled this year.

Community Caregivers of Greater Derry has joined Holy Cross Church and other area organizations to collect and deliver gift-wrapped presents to the elderly .

Seven volunteers playing the role of elves are making the special deliveries that began this week, said Cindee Tunama, Community Caregivers’ executive director. The elves will not only deliver the presents but visit with seniors, she said.

“It’s making them feel kind of embraced by the community, like they aren’t forgotten,” Tanuma said.

Along with Holy Cross, she praised the efforts of businesses such as Derry Chiropractic, which set up an angel tree in its office.

Founded in 1983, Community Caregivers helps the elderly, disabled, and chronically and temporarily ill stay in their own homes and communities as long as possible.

This holiday season, the organization worked to find out what items its clients wanted as gifts this year. Most of the requests were for practical everyday items, such as slippers, stamps or socks, Tanuma said.

The gift tags were disseminated to the organizations participating in the effort. The gift-wrapped presents were then brought back to Community Caregivers to be delivered this week, Tanuma said.

Although it was a lot of work, Tanuma said the effort is more than worth it for the warmth it brings to seniors.

“Not only is it helping them with a tangible need they have for the holidays, but it’s an additional visitor,” she said.

As of the beginning of the week, 155 gifts had been collected, Tanuma said.

One request this year was for a full-size mattress and box spring from a client who had been sleeping on an air mattress.

Holy Cross Church member Sally Dion worked with other volunteers to collect the various pieces of the set.

“It was actually a larger item than usual,” she said. “We weren’t sure how we were going to do it.”Fortunately, a mattress was located at one place and the box spring and frame from other locations, she said.“It looks like she’ll have a bed for Christmas, something to sleep on,” Dion said Wednesday, after helping collect one of the pieces of the set.

Holy Cross has been participating in the giving program for about 10 years, Dion said.

Other participants this year include: Pentucket Bank in Salem, First Parish Church UCC in Derry, and Community Crossroads in Atkinson.