Moose spread Christmas joy
Published 11:25 pm Friday, December 21, 2012
Christmas is looking a lot merrier for residents of three care facilities in Suffolk and one in Windsor, thanks to kind-hearted folks from Suffolk Moose Lodge 141.
Two lodge members, husband and wife Richard and Sharon Dick, have been dressing up as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and delivering gifts to the residents.
Santa and his lovely wife visited Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation’s Nansemond Pointe on Friday, after earlier visiting Autumn Care and, in Windsor, Consulate Health Care. They planned to visit Suffolk’s Oakwood Assisted Living Saturday.
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“It might have started in 2008 — that’s the general consensus,” Richard Dick said of the annual ritual.
“We heard that some of the residents don’t have families and they would be sitting in their activity room on Christmas morning and everybody else would be opening packages.”
The lodge first visits each facility and asked residents without a family what they would like for Christmas.
“They filled out a card,” lodge member Alice Wilkins explained. “It’s usually so simple — socks, a housecoat, slippers, reading material, things like that.”
The cards are hung from a Christmas tree back at the lodge on Turlington Road. Members selected one or more of those cards and went shopping.
While those without families get something extra, every resident at the nursing homes receives a soft toy.
“We have a big stash of stuffed animals and we just go room to room,” Wilkins said. “It’s amazing how much they seem to love stuffed animals.
“They are lying in bed … and they wake up and say, ‘Oh my, Santa!’ They just come alive.”
The lives of about 150 Nansemond Pointe residents were brightened Friday, and about 120 at Autumn Care on Thursday.
Members of the Suffolk lodge — Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their party of elves — go methodically down the corridors spreading joy with sacks of gifts.
“I think it’s nice, what they’re doing,” said one Nansemond Pointe resident, 88-year-old Olif Gay.
A smile spread across her face when Richard Dick, wearing his red Santa costume, leaned down and handed her a soft toy. “Is that beard real?” she joked.
“We go through every room,” said another lodge member, Clay McGinley.
Suffolk Moose Lodge 141 also hands out Christmas gift boxes to some of its members, as well as contributed money to and helped out with Suffolk’s wreath laying ceremony earlier in December.