A Ponoka resident has received an outpouring of support for her Christmas season giving idea: “Stockings for Seniors.”
After just 24-hours from making her Facebook post, Ashley Rausch had already reached one-third of the amount needed to reach her goal of providing 64 filled stockings for Ponoka seniors.
A local 4-H horse club has also reached out and volunteered to help stuff the stockings and get them ready for delivery.
Rausch said it’s actually turned into a community effort and she’s “amazed, shocked and excited” about how quickly people backed this.
Rausch did the campaign before, in 2017, and is now bringing it back.
“I’m doing it in memory of my grandma as I was very close with her and Christmas was her favourite time of year,” said Rausch.
Her grandmother passed away 10 years ago. One thing she always did was make sure everyone in the family had stockings, said Rausch.
“I have many fond memories of her and Christmas from when I was a child.”
As a health care worker and former employee on a senior’s ward at the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury, she’s seen the needs of seniors during the holidays.
From her experience seniors with no family, or those under a guardianship, may not receive anything at all for Christmas.
“It just kind of broke my heart,” she said.
Now a mother of three young children, Rausch is also trying to teach them that Christmas isn’t just about getting presents.
“It feels better to gift a gift than receive one,” she said.
Rausch called around to the local seniors facilities to ask how many seniors they had that could use a stuffed stocking at Christmas and from there, came up with a total of 64.
She said at first she was concerned she’d get an overwhelming response and wouldn’t be able to fill the need, but she’s already been encouraged by the donations she’s received.
“If I get more than that I’m going to make sure those stockings find a home,” she said.
Keri Hulsman is also helping with the stocking drive. She secured the business drop-off locations for donations and will help with the shopping for items from the cash donations.
You can either sponsor a stocking for $25 and they will do the shopping for you, or you can fill a stocking and drop it off.
For drop off locations, call or text Rausch at 403-963-2350.
Monetary donations can be e-transfered to email@example.com.
Stockings will be going to seniors in need living in Seasons Ponoka, Rimoka, the Centennial Centre, and Northcott Care Centre.
The last day to donate will be Dec. 18, with stockings going out the week of Dec. 19.
Items Rausch recommends filling stockings with include:
– lotion (little to no scent);
– lip balm;
– soft chocolates or sweets (nothing sticky);
– hot chocolate;
– socks or slippers;
– words search books and pens;
– hygiene products;
– nail polish and
– coffee mugs.
For more information, contact Rausch or Hulsman at 403-704-7228.