Vancouver Island teen launches Adopt-A-Grandparent to spread Christmas cheer

Breanna Brosko’s initiative helps give gifts to seniors at Christmastime

When Breanna Brosko couldn’t make it out to Kamloops to see her great-grandfather for Christmas two years ago, she decided to bring some Christmas cheer to Comox Valley seniors instead.

For the third year, 16-year-old Brosko is once again organizing the Adopt-A-Grandparent project to give gifts to local seniors who may otherwise feel lonely throughout the holiday season.

Christmas trees covered in tags have been set up at Jo Klassen’s, Finders Keeps Hers Boutique, Art Knapp and White Spot in Courtenay with information about what each senior would like as a gift. Community members can pick a tag and return the wrapped gift to one of the four locations.

This year, the program is helping give gifts to over 300 seniors, but Brosko warns that the tags are picked up very fast.

“They just go so quickly,” said Brosko. “And it’s amazing to see how above and beyond people go with actually getting the Christmas gifts because some of the seniors will only have one thing that they’d like, but you end up with these huge gift baskets and boxes that are just full of things that they love.”

Brosko says though this year’s campaign has barely started, she has already been approached by many businesses and community members asking how they can help. The ReStore has donated a Christmas tree and South Courtenay Storage is once again providing a storage locker to store the gifts in.

“[The first year], we were storing them in my parent’s bedroom and it got a little cramped once you got 100 presents in there,” laughs Brosko.

Brosko, along with local Girl Guides and community volunteers deliver the gifts right before Christmas, and she said it is her favourite part of the season.

“I remember last year, we had one senior and he was this big, gruff old man and he started crying, and he’s like, ‘There’s something in my eye,’” said Brosko. “He wasn’t admitting how amazing it was… It’s just really amazing to see their faces light up and how much it can really change their view of the holidays because sometimes for seniors it can actually be a lonely time and not quite as cheerful as it is for other people.”

This year, the project has special meaning to Brosko as her mother and her great-grandfather – two people who inspired her and helped make the project a reality – both passed away within the past year.

“My mom was a really big driving force for keeping me going on the project and helping everything move forward, and then my great-grandfather was the original inspiration for the project in the first place,” she said. “So losing both of them has meant that it’s that much more important and that much more difficult for me to do it again this year.”

This year’s campaign runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 16. More details can be found through the Facebook page, Adopt-A-Grandparent Comox Valley.

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