Approximately 20 Santas converged on the aging population of a Clinton assisted living facility this week bearing gifts and some Christmas cheer for the holiday season.
A majority of the Clinton Police Department, including uniform officers, detectives and administrative staff, all led by Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley, walked into Magnolia Assisted Living and Memory Care with boxes in hand Tuesday morning, braving a downpour of rain to deliver goodie bags and blankets to the facility’s residents.
The department often reserves its annual trip in the community to visiting young children, as it did last year, but decided to go a different route this Christmas.
“This year, we wanted to do something different and the staff thought of people who were in assisted living,” Tilley stated. “As you know, a lot of folks who have to live at assisted living homes do not have relatives who can visit or are very limited in visits during the holidays. The staff felt that we can make a difference by reaching out to the people that are confined to these facilities.”
Shirley Williams, activities director for Magnolia Assisted Living and Memory Care, said the residents loved it.
Beaming herself as officer after officer came in holding boxes of gifts, Williams agreed that it is a welcome sight for many who might not otherwise get any visitors.
“Some of them don’t have family to come,” Williams remarked. “We’re so thankful and we’ve been blessed this year with lots of gifts from everyone. I just want to say thank you to everyone who gave to us this year.”
Along with the Clinton Police Department, local doctor’s offices, veterans, First Baptist Church at 900 College St. and Walmart also donated items to the Magnolia residents.
The facility can accommodate 90 residents and currently has 81. They are split in two separate sections of the facility, the assisted living wing and the memory care wing, which stays under locked supervision for the resident’s safety. On Tuesday, the police officers brought blankets for the memory care patients, as veterans had previously donated blankets to the assisted living residents.
“We had our Christmas party last week and we will have our big Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve,” Williams remarked. “There, the home will also have gifts we give out.”
The activities director said the visit from the officers was the topper.
“It’s been a blessed Christmas,” she said.
Last year, the police officers and staff played Santa to dozens of Head Start and Early Head Start students at Dogwood Circle and the old College Street School in Clinton, handing out plenty of toys, treats and ice cream to go along with hugs and handshakes, as well as some sloppy kisses from K9 Junior.
While sans K9, this year was much the same, only with the beneficiaries being at the opposite side of the age spectrum. Whether it is beaming children and teachers or making elderly residents and their caretakers smile, the goal remains intact: bring joy and cheer to others.
“The CPD’s annual Christmas event of giving fellowship and gifts to those in need is the department’s way of sharing the season’s spirit,” Tilley stated. “The officers and staff really enjoyed their interactions with the citizens. It brings into focus that there are so many people in need and the smallest gesture can have the biggest effect.”
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