Morgan Nadon Turner is organizing Christmas Adopt a Senior: SSM for the second year this year but, in many ways, it's like the first time all over again.
With COVID-19 numbers climbing, the 17-year-old Superior Heights student is having to do things very differently this year.
Last year she and her helpers raised more than $800 in cash and gifts, putting together just over 140 gift bags each containing more than $50 worth of items for seniors in residences and a few others who were mostly confined to their homes.
"Members of the community created gift bags filled with presents which I then collected, added personalized cards and other fun things, then distributed them between four different long term care facilities here in the Sault," Turner said.
This year there will be no gift bags.
"It just wasn't realistic," she told SooToday. "We couldn't take the risk."
So, this year, Nadon Turner is concentrating her efforts on raising cash to donate to the homes in hope that staff and volunteers at the homes will be able to get the seniors the things that are most needed.
Her efforts stem from her love of her grandmother Lucille who passed away in August of 2019.
"When I visited her I realized there were so many seniors in need," she said. "I started this in hopes to lift the spirits of seniors who either may not have family to visit them at Christmas time or even just need some extra love, which we all could enjoy."
Many people in the homes don't have relatives or friends locally to bring them things they want or need and can't get out to get, Nadon Turner said.
This year COVID is likely to make that worse with tight visitor restrictions for the protection of seniors and staff in the homes.
So Nadon Turner has set a target to raise $1,500. In lieu of physical donations, she and her helpers will only be accepting e-transfer and/or cash donations for the homes in efforts to keep seniors and front-line workers safe.
Christian Provenzano, Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie is also on board again this year and will be sharing the event on his social media.
She said she has found this effort very worthwhile and a good way to memorialize her grandmother whom she described as a warm, caring person.
"It warms my heart to see so much support from the community and to be able to help," she said.
For more information, visit the group Facebook page.