Two pickup trucks filled with presents pulled up to Eagle Terrace Long-Term Care home last night, as part of Timeless Harmony’s Santa to a Senior initiative.
Katie Gilligan, owner of the Newmarket hair salon and spa, said there was an overwhelming outpouring of support this year for the fourth annual goodwill initiative, which invites members of the community to select the name of a senior living at Eagle Terrace to buy them a Christmas present.
“By the time the names were gone, we had probably over 100 people still coming in to find names, so it’s been a huge success,” she said.
When they first launched the campaign, it would take two or three weeks for all the names to be claimed, but this year Gilligan said it took just three or four days.
For her, it shows how much the Newmarket community feels compelled to give.
“They need to help. Everybody feels so good and gooey inside when they see this happening. Just being a part of it makes them feel happy,” she said.
Benita Bidinot and her son, Kristopher, were among the local residents who wanted to participate.
“I saw Eagle Terrace and I saw the concept and I said, ‘I have to do this,” Bidinot said.
Her grandmother lived at Eagle Terrace for four years several years ago, and Bidinot would visit her often.
The home has a special place in her heart and even for her son, who got to meet his great grandmother there when he was just a baby.
“There’s a picture of little me sitting on her lap,” Kristopher said. The photo was taken in the lounge at Eagle Terrace.
As soon as Bidinot heard about the Santa to a Senior program, she went to Timeless Harmony the next day to select a name and offer their pickup truck to help transport the presents on delivery day.
“We’re very happy to help. It’s very heartwarming,” she said last night.
They dropped off the gifts for the 70 residents of Eagle Terrace alongside Gilligan and her husband, Mike Vasiliou.
While they weren’t able to go inside the home due to COVID-19 restrictions, staff met them outside with carts to wheel in all the presents. With the number of donations, and size of the bags, it took several trips.
The gifts will be held for a few days and then distributed to the senior residents for Christmas.
Gilligan already has her sights set on next year’s campaign, which she said will be even bigger.
“We are actually adopting a second home next year because the success was so unbelievable,” she said.
They will be joining forces with another company that has a warehouse to allow them to expand, with more details coming in 2022.