Christmas in July: Senior Resources gives out summer gifts

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–In December, organizations throughout Muscatine go to great lengths to provide holiday cheer to people who might get overlooked. At Senior Resources, this effort takes the form of giving gift baskets to older adults who may not have any nearby friends or family members to celebrate with. Thanks to the generosity of their donors last winter, they raised enough money to do surprise Christmas in July gift baskets for the first time this summer, bringing hope and support to seniors who might not expect it in the middle of July. “We decided a Christmas in July Basket would serve as a wonderful midyear surprise to bring cheer to our senior residents, as funders had intended,” Marketing and Communications Director and Executive Assistant for Vision 2020 Megan Francis outlined.

Wanting to make sure recipients got supplies they could really use, Senior Resources filled each basket with household cleaners, gift cards, and stamps, as Senior Resources has found many of the people they work with use the mail for their important communications. “Many people do not realize how much people appreciate stamps,” Francis observed: “This generation still mails bills and writes letters to family and friends. The response to the unexpected items has been that of cheer and appreciation.”

Senior Resources invited their selected recipients to come pick up their baskets or have them delivered to their homes if they did not have a means of transportation. All in all, the people who got the baskets enjoyed their special gifts greatly. “The surprise of this program was extraordinary, she shared, later adding, “surprises are fun no matter how old you are.”

Francis hopes to continue the new Christmas in July program in future years. “We are optimistic that Muscatine will continue to support the Christmas basket program and hope the Christmas in July Basket program can become a new tradition.”

After applications for gift baskets go out in October, Senior Resources begins seeking funds and donations to make sure each participant gets gifts at the holidays. These include monetary gifts from corporations like HNI, local charitable organizations and churches, as well as individuals. The Battle of the Bars Stuff the Stocking Challenge, which first started in 2021, also brings in funds for the program. In November, people who would like to put together a gift basket may call Senior Resources at 563-263-7292 and get a shopping list for a specific person ,a little like the angel trees Toy Time uses to get gifts for children of different ages during their week of Two Weeks of Love. People may additionally donate perennially popular items, such as stationary, postage stamps, fuzzy non-slip socks, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, or other items that could also go to the Community Cleaning Supply and Hygiene Closet, which serves people in need throughout the year.

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