MORE than 200 western suburbs pensioners will be opening much-needed gifts this Christmas, thanks to the Tree of Joy initiative which kicked off last month.
The Tree of Joy is a project driven by the Rotary clubs of Port Elizabeth that brings Christmas cheer to individuals who are under the care or support of various local charities.
About 3500 gifts will be distributed to close to 40 beneficiaries around the city this year.
Residents of the ACVV’s Louis Dubb centre in Kabega Park will be getting gifts, part of the Christmas experience provided by the home, said admin officer Charmaine Wallace.
The home has 302 residents and 128 will be receiving gifts from the Tree of Joy.
“Some people don’t have family or their families don’t visit. We also choose residents who have a low income,” said Wallace.
“It is nice to get a gift at Christmas; they will appreciate it.”
For each of the 117 physically challenged and or intellectually impaired frail adult residents at the Lorraine Frail Care Centre, receiving a Tree of Joy Christmas present is indeed the highlight of the year, said an employee who did not wish to be named.
She said many of the residents did not see their families at this time of the year and there were some who did not have any family at all.
“For these residents, as well as all the others, receiving this Christmas present reminds and reassures them that they are very special, much loved and never forgotten by the generous and caring community of Port Elizabeth and the dedicated organisers of the Tree of Joy project.”
The individual beneficiaries of the Tree of Joy vary in age from small children to the elderly.
The tree itself stands in the Food Hall of Greenacres Shopping Centre and will be up until December 21 for the public to contribute.
“The charities support a broad range of social, medical and educational needs, and are selected by the Rotary clubs, who will then work with the charities to create a list of individuals who will receive gifts,” said organiser Angela Newton.
The public can take a gift card off the tree with the recipient’s name and age and what they want for Christmas. The giver then buys a suitable gift to the value of about R100, wraps it and returns it to the tree to be handed over to the relevant organisation.