Roseanne Penner, who organized the first charity drive, and the “Elves” organized and wrapped hampers on Dec. 4 for senior citizens through the Bridgeland Community Riverside Association.
“We always do stuff for kids at Christmas,” Penner said. “I felt like there was a need to engage the seniors.”
Many of the donations received by the Bridgeland Elves came from an online drive. People in a giving mood purchased gift cards from franchise businesses like Tim Hortons, Calgary Co-Op and Safeway.
“The things that are more appreciated are the bus tickets and the grocery cards,” said Penner, who cites the close-knit feeling of the Bridgeland community as a factor in the success of the donation drive. “It’s like a small town in the middle of downtown Calgary.”
Bridgeland, which is part of the Calgary Confederation federal electoral riding, is home to a large number of senior citizens. In September, during a public forum prior to the federal election, Liberal candidate Matt Grant addressed the needs of the seniors living in the area.
“Matt Grant is a huge supporter of community events,” Penner said. “He still runs the casino for the community association.”
Businesses in the neighbourhood also lent a hand during the drive and have done so since Penner began gathering donations by herself three years ago. With both monetary and non-monetary donations, Penner put together nine hampers in the first year.
This year, the Bridgeland Elves put together 30 hampers for seniors in the area, which amounted to an estimated $400 in donations. The hampers were then delivered to each needy resident on December 6.
I felt like there was a need to engage the seniors. – hamper drive organizer Roseanne Penner
“It’s nice when people feel connected,” said Penner, speaking of the Bridgeland Elves’ success. “The next step, I think, is to try and engage people in these communities.”