The holiday season was made a little brighter for over 250 nursing home residents this year, thanks to the generosity of workers at the state’s largest utility company.
More than 100 Eversource employees participated in the Eversource Women’s Committee’s annual Holiday Gift Giving Program for local nursing homes, helping to fulfill the holiday wishes of 266 elderly neighbors impacted by the pandemic.
In addition to providing comforts and necessities for some of New Hampshire’s most vulnerable residents, organizers say the gifts are a reminder that someone is thinking of them.
“Eversource employees are angels in disguise, contributing to our seniors every single year for the past 23 years,” said Maple Leaf Health Care Center Activities Director Pat Durant in a statement. “There was increased need for personal care items this year because families haven’t been able to visit.”
“The gifts from Eversource were so personalized and thoughtful that several of our residents had to fight back tears of joy,” said Amy Meier, activities director at the Bedford Hills Care and Rehabilitation Center, in a statement. “Our residents have been through so much and lost so much.”
Organizers say the inspiration behind the Holiday Gift Giving Program — established in 1997 — was to ensure a happy holiday for elderly neighbors without family to visit them. The pandemic only increased the need for such a program.
“Our elderly neighbors are really struggling with isolation since they can’t spend social time together or enjoy their usual recreation activities, and many have lost friends to the virus,” said Sandra Gagnon, a member of the Women’s Committee and co-chair of the Holiday Gift Giving Program, in a statement. “We know this year has taken a heavy toll on both the residents and staff of the nursing homes, so it was important to us to find a way to support them.”
In addition to enlisting shoppers and organizing an online fundraiser to fulfill residents’ wish lists, members of the Women’s Committee assembled gift baskets for nursing home staff to show their appreciation for nursing home workers. Gifts were collected from employees at a contactless drop-off at one of the company’s work centers, before being quarantined for 48 hours.
The gifts were then delivered to nursing homes through a contactless pickup process at an Eversource work center.
“The holidays are an important time to show love and support for our neighbors who may feel forgotten — and that’s especially true this year as so many in our community are suffering as a result of the pandemic,” said Emily Rodon, also a member of the Women’s Committee and co-chair of the Holiday Gift Giving Program, in a statement. “While I’m always amazed by the outpouring of support from my colleagues for this program, I’m especially proud of their dedication to overcome unique challenges in order to make this year’s program so impactful and special.”