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

ChristmasSeniorsseniors housing

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

Just Posted

According to Statistics Canada, new housing starts and value of building permits in Greater Victoria rose in January 2021 compared to January 2020. (Black Press Media File)
New housing starts, value of building permits up in Greater Victoria

Cost of new housing also rising in region, now in excess of $1.15 million for a new detached home

The designation of March as Distracted Driving Awareness Month is among several measures designed to stop the use of hand-held phones. In 2018, Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, North Saanich Fire, BC Ambulance and ICBC partnered with Parkland drama students who played the role of driver, passenger and witness to simulate a car crash designed to prevent students from texting and driving. (Black Press Media File)
Police across Greater Victoria step up enforcement of distracted driving

More than a third of B.C. drivers admit to using phone while driving, even as most denounce practice

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read