Residents at the Amica Somerset House pack up gift baskets for low-income seniors as a part of the Helping Hands initiative. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Residents at the Amica Somerset House pack up gift baskets for low-income seniors as a part of the Helping Hands initiative. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria seniors pack Christmas baskets for peers in need

Residents of Amica Houses pack more than 300 gift baskets for seniors living in poverty

The games room at the Amica Somerset house was transformed into a well-oiled workshop Dec. 12. Volunteers wearing Santa hats dotted their way down a factory line as the air rang with the crinkle of cellophane wrap and swish of scissors curling ribbons.

As part of a seasonal tradition, the residents were wrapping up gift baskets for low-income seniors as a part of the Helping Hands initiative.

The baskets contain tea towels, dish cloths, soaps, shampoos, cookies and chocolates, a $25 gift card to Thrifty Foods, socks, hats, gloves and sparkling juice.

ALSO READ: Helping Hands delivers for city seniors in Greater Victoria

“You need a little bit of practical, and a little bit of fun,” said event coordinator Lin Thompson as she adjusted her elf hat. “The residents are so lucky to live here, and it’s an easy way for them to give back to the community.”

For some of the residents, the baskets have become a tradition of their own.

“We’ve been doing this for many years now; there are a lot of people who don’t have all these goodies at Christmas,” said Margaret Rippin.

ALSO READ: Lending vulnerable seniors a helping hand in Greater Victoria

Residents felt that the kinds of items struck a good balance for those in need.

“These are probably things they woulnd’t buy for themselves because they’re short on money,” said Jean Davies.”So here we can give them things like candy, but also some useful items as well.”

Somerset was just one of four Amica houses in Victoria creating the baskets, and between them all over 300 baskets will be distributed to local seniors ahead of Christmas. The contents were paid for in part by residents hosting garage sales, raffles and bake sales throughout the year, as well as from donors across the country. Each basket is valued at $150.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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