Young Santas bring Christmas to older generation

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By Vicky Gits

Christmas comes early at the Green Ridge Meadow Apartments when the community room begins to fill up with wrapping-paper-covered boxes full of holiday dinners and groceries.

The Seniors’ Resource Center-Evergreen packed and delivered 120 baskets of food and other goodies to seniors and people with disabilities living in the foothills from Central City to Evergreen. The SRC has sponsored this project annually since 1981.

SRC began collecting food for the basket giveaway on Nov. 3 by putting out bins at Safeway and King Soopers.

With the help of students from Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen, 59 overflowing holiday meal boxes were distributed Dec. 16 at the Green Ridge Meadow Apartments, where residents are at least 62 years old or disabled. Volunteer coordinator Christine Schaefer spearheaded the project for the SRC.

“It’s such a wonderful thing. The large majority are extremely grateful. … A lot of people in the building can’t really afford to buy a box of groceries like that,” said Linda Simpson, resident manager.

The boxes include things like hats and scarves, pasta, canned fruit, candy, vegetables and sauces, toiletries, and cat and dog food for people with pets.

Assignments in hand, the students form small groups and hand-deliver the packages to recipients on three floors of the complex, where the average age is in the late 70s.

This year Safeway contributed frozen, cooked rotisserie chickens, which will make convenient, senior-sized holiday meals, along with stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, muffins and gravy.

Wendy Lockwood, 71, especially looks forward to getting the personal items in her basket.

“I like the lotions, soaps and toothbrushes. There are really nice little cookies and things like that,” Lockwood said.

Lockwood has lived at Green Ridge Meadow for five years. She is recovering from a heart attack she suffered in February. Because she has rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and heart disease, Lockwood can’t get around as much as she did in her younger days.

An artist, psychologist, minister and jewelry maker, Lockwood keeps busy working on art projects and teaching jewelry-making to the apartment residents. She stays young-looking by doing “granny yoga” exercises, visualizing, deep-breathing and chanting.

The project was a joint effort of the Evergreen community and dozens of businesses, banks and stores that helped collect food and pack the baskets. Participants included Bank of America, Christ the King Church, EDS Waste, Evergreen Elks Lodge, Evergreen Montessori School, Evergreen Senior High National Honor Society, Foothills Chapter of the National Charity League, Forest Heights Lodge, Fuller Sotheby's International Realty, King Soopers, Rocky Mountain Academy, Rocky Mountain Village Estates, Safeway, Two Men and a Truck, Walmart, and Wendy's.

Contact Vicky Gits at 303-350-1042 or vicky@evergreenco.com.