This Year’s Tree Includes Wishes from Families and Homebound or Elder Care Residents

Golden Opportunities of Sandy Hook is adding a new twist to Edmond Town Hall’s Giving Tree tradition this year. For the first time, the Giving Tree will include gift tags for seniors as well as families.

“We reach out to residents who are homebound or who live in elder care facilities through a number of programs and activities, including, one-on-one visits, interactive programs that engage and stimulate, granting special wishes and providing holiday gifts” said Neil Callaghan, director of operations.

The organization relies on volunteers called “opportuners” and provides all services at no cost to recipients or facilities. Interactive activities include games such as Pokeno, a card game similar to Bingo, and The Price is Right, as well as wheelchair accessible gardening, and service projects that engage seniors in community activities.

Tags have been placed on the Giving Tree at the Edmond Town Hall with names and wishes from local seniors or families. Edmond Town Hall visitors can pick up a tag and return an unwrapped gift or gift certificate to the box located near the tree in the main lobby.

 “Many seniors appreciate grocery store gift cards because food shopping is a major expense for them,” said Sue Callaghan, an opportuner who runs The Warm Line, a weekly phone call program that does regular checks on homebound seniors to provide conversation, check on their health and keep them engaged.

The Giving Tree is a collaboration between the Edmond Town Hall, the Newtown Junior Women’s Club Tag-a-Gift Program and another local organization who signs on each year to “sponsor” the Giving Tree at Edmond Town Hall. Tree sponsors help decorate the tree. They gain additional exposure by displaying their informational materials in the building during the holiday season.

The Newtown Junior Women’s Club manages the gifts and tags by working with other local organizations, such as Social Services and Golden Opportunities, to learn about holiday wishes and needs of local residents and to try to fulfill those wishes through gift donations.

For additional information about Golden Opportunities please visit www.goldenopps.org or stop by the Edmond Town Hall box office to obtain printed materials, pick up a gift tag or learn how to become a volunteer or “opportuner.”