Barbara and Rick Donnelly with the Oceanside Newcomers Alumni Society show some of the Christmas stockings that their members filled for local isolated seniors. Many of the stockings were made by members of the Parksville Quilt House Quilters Guild. (Lissa Alexander photo)

Stockings for seniors in Parksville Qualicum Beach

SOS, other groups combine to put smiles on faces


Many isolated seniors in the Parksville Qualicum Beach community will feel a little touch of kindness this Christmas thanks to a collaborative effort from residents.

Christmas stockings for seniors is part of the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program. Members of the local Newcomers’ Clubs purchase items such as books, socks, soaps and chocolates and fill Christmas stockings, many that have been handmade by members of the Parksville Quilt House Quilters Guild. SOS volunteers deliver the stockings to seniors who are shut-in or without close friends or family.

“It’s a good way for us to give back to the community and hopefully put a smile on people’s faces, and make people feel that they are thought of,” said Barbara Donnelly, who is a member of the Oceanside Newcomers Alumni Society (ONAS).

She and her husband Rick and are co-ordinating the stocking program for ONAS this year. ONAS is one of several newcomers’ clubs taking part in the program.

Melissa Rathbone is one of the volunteers at SOS who picks up the stockings and delivers them to seniors. She and partner Brian Carto took their young daughter with them on the deliveries last year.

“I think a lot of people really enjoyed it, it’s the only time they really get to see people or get things dropped off,” she said, adding that some people wanted to have a good conversation with them while they were there.

She said it was also a nice opportunity to show their daughter that Christmas is about more than receiving presents.

John McLenahan has been delivering stockings as an SOS volunteer for more than five years. He said he likes to do it mainly because it keeps him tuned in to the real world.

“There are a lot of people doing a lot of things that we don’t see, because we shield ourselves from that, our society, because we live so well and we assume everybody else does too. But there’s many other stories going on.”

He said some of the seniors get very emotional when he delivers the stockings and that can be hard, because many of them don’t have very much. But he still feels good about doing it.

“I can’t change their lives but I can give them another thing to think about for two or three hours, they are cheered up at least while you are there.”

READ MORE: Christmas program creating tradition for PQB single mother and daughter

Barbara and Rick said they wanted to take on the program for ONAS because there are so many isolated seniors around, and they hope the stockings deliver a message.

“There are people out there thinking of you and you’re not alone.”

The SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program also provides gifts for children and youth in low-income families and grocery store gift cards to families and individuals, so they can choose food that is important to them over the holidays.

SOS is hoping to raise $120,000 to meet the needs of all the residents who register for the program. To donate to the program visit the SOS website or call 250-248-2093. SOS is also gratefully accepting donations of new, unwrapped gifts for its Toy Shop.

Items can be dropped off at the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville during business hours.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Elizabeth Little Waterfront Park’ proposed in Qualicum Beach

It was first announced in 2018 that St. Andrews Lodge would be turned into a public space

Three celebrations this summer in Parksville for city’s big 75th birthday bash

Beach party and street festival to be added to city’s roster of activities

Transit BC to replace Regional District of Nanaimo’s handyDart bus fleet

New vehicles will be gas-powered, with better loading and unloading capabilities

‘We could see fire all over the landscape’: Parksville man recounts helping crews in Australia

Kevin Cochrane of the Coastal Fire Centre spent 38 days Down Under

New BC Cannabis store opens up shop in Parksville

Outlet at Wembley Mall open seven days per week

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read