To share comfort and joy to senior citizens this holiday season, Seniors Resources Unlimited-Liaisons for Elders, (RULE) a non-profit organization that provides services for the elderly, is sponsoring the third annual Elves for Elders program. The program is designed to bring cheer to seniors who might not otherwise receive a gift.
“There are people in nursing homes that don’t have family,” said Maxine Hutchins, a Cranston resident who founded the organization in 2006. “Sometimes, this is the only gift they get for the holidays. They don’t know who’s giving it to them.”
On Nov. 5, paper stars with a person’s first name, as well as a gift item, were placed on a tree at Warwick Mall. Customers are welcome to take a star, purchase the gift, and return it unwrapped to the customer service desk, which is located in the center of the mall in front of J.C. Penny.
By Dec. 10, Hutchins’ team of elves, all Rhode Island women who work at facilities that provide services for senior citizens, will visit the mall to collect the gifts. From there, the helpful elves, along with Hutchins, will hold a gift-wrapping party at All is Well Home Care at 510 Post Road in Warwick on Dec. 12. They will wrap, sort and anonymously distribute the gifts to communities throughout the state.
Locations include but are not limited to the Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol, Woodpecker Hill Nursing Home in Greene, Morgan Health Center in Johnston and Harris Health Center in East Providence, where Hutchins is employed. Gifts will also be dropped off to other nursing homes, senior housing complexes, adult day centers and housing facilities. Hutchings and her elves collected names for the stars from most of the centers.
“We enjoy doing it,” Hutchins said. “And the mall does a wonderful job for us.”
In the last two years the elves have collected and distributed at least 800 gifts.