When Ada opened her front door, she received a holiday surprise she didn’t expect. Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Elderly Services program canceled its Christmas event as a precaution against a rise in flu and other respiratory illnesses. Caseworkers still wanted to make participants feel special, so they dressed like Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Christmas elves to deliver goodie baskets.
“Our participants were certainly disappointed that the gathering was canceled, but they loved our outfits and the home visits,” said Kasey Mills, a CAP Elderly Services caseworker. “Everyone had big smiles, especially Ada.”
Like several other seniors in Appalachia, Ada lives alone and seldom has visits from anyone else other than CAP’s caseworkers. She depends on them to provide transportation for grocery shopping, doctor appointments, and to help her run other errands, like paying bills. Ada looks forward to all of CAP’s special events to visit with other seniors, so she was sad when she heard the in-person Christmas event was canceled. When CAP showed up at her door, she gave the caseworkers big, warm hugs.
“Ada told us she loved all of us and she couldn’t believe we were there to see her,” Mills said. “Ada is always telling us how much she loves and appreciates everything CAP does for her.”
During the visits, participants were surprised with special Christmas gifts. Along with the women’s personalized robes and the men’s cologne and bath sets that were given, the participants received other items, including Christmas decorations provided by CAP’s Operation Sharing program.
“The employees in our program feel so much love from each and every one of our participants, not just during the holidays but every day,” Mills said. “They love and appreciate us just as much as we do them.”