March 7, 2013
Have you heard about “Seniors Secret Service (SSS)” ?
The Birthday Cheer Program began in 2009 as a pilot project with a limited number of participating seniors’ care sites, and operating with the working title of “the Birthday Recognition Program”. The project was such a success it has grown from 200 nominations to 1977 last year. Unlike the Christmas giving program, it is funded by SSS, rather than through the use of volunteer Secret Santa gift donations. Currently, the program is providing birthday gifts to seniors at approximately 75 care facilities and senior organizations. On average, 160 gifts are delivered each month and it is expected to continue to grow as the need for the service increases and the program gains more visibility.
The goal of the Birthday Cheer Program is to extend the spirit of giving year round, in an effort to brighten the lives and improve the spirits of isolated senior citizens in Calgary. This is accomplished by providing a birthday gift bag that is delivered monthly to participating care facilities and senior organizations. Giving in this way to isolated seniors twice each year is far more beneficial to them. They “share” Christmas with everyone, but their birthday is their own.
Financial donations are used to purchase standard gift bags for a male or female recipient. Based on current response rates, it is estimated that 8% Secret Santas will also contribute either a birthday gift or a financial contribution, amounting to approximately 5 gifts per month. Sponsorship and donations are required to provide the remaining gifts each month. These items are purchased in bulk where possible and through agreed upon supply arrangements with vendors.
• SSS provided 2582 Christmas gifts in 2012 to 75 participating senior facilities and organizations.
• The birthday program successfully delivered 1977 gifts in 2012
• The cost of a Birthday Gift Bag is $25
Each month, gift and cards are sorted and packaged for the recipient seniors that have a birthday in the following month. A personalized birthday card, handmade by individual volunteers or groups, is included in each birthday gift.
Gifts are then delivered to the appropriate care facility and distributed at the appropriate time. In order to preserve anonymity and confidentiality of the seniors, gifts are delivered by staff, volunteers and caretakers at each facility.