Operation Christmas CHEER 2018
Local Volunteers and Businesses Provide Christmas CHEER to Seniors
The Nutrition Program of CHEER, Inc. will once again be conducting its Annual Operation Christmas CHEER 2018 on Christmas Day.
Years ago, the CHEER Nutrition Program found that many seniors were alone on Christmas Day and did not have family in the immediate area who would be visiting them or could not be with the senior that day. To address the need, CHEER established a Christmas Day meal delivery for seniors. Volunteers from all over the area come to the Georgetown CHEER Center on Christmas morning to pick up a meal and deliver it to seniors. For several years, a grant from Mid-Del Foundation allowed funds for providing the meals. In 2017, CHEER delivered Christmas Day meals to 265 seniors.
As the years passed, many area businesses and organizations have joined with CHEER to provide a “Merry Christmas” for the seniors. Short Funeral Home joined in the collection of groceries to help fill food baskets. Woodbridge High School’s Future Farmers of America students help prepare the baskets. Mountaire Farms, Inc. donates baskets with a roasting chicken and all the canned goods to make a Christmas dinner.
A partnership with K-MART of Rehoboth began to help supply gifts for the seniors. Forty Meals on Wheels clients are selected for the K-MART Giving Tree from which shoppers select a gift tag and purchase the gift asked for. The South Coastal AARP Chapter 5226 members give more than 100 wrapped gifts each year. The Dublin Hill 4-H Club adopts the cause and contributes bags of personal toiletry items. A Mary Kay Cosmetics representative donates gift bags of hand cream and lip balms. The Georgetown AARP and the Tabitha Circle of the Georgetown Presbyterian Church adopts clients and provides gifts. Lakeside Community Home Owners Association provides over 50 wrapped gifts.
Pet food is also collected to take to the pets of the seniors getting a meal on Christmas Day. The Mispillion Kennel Club, The Pet Pantry, and other donators who love animals collect and donate pet foods for the endeavor.
The Long Neck Elementary School and the Millsboro Elementary School students create Christmas cards. Betsey Moore makes over 40 lap quilts to take to the seniors and the Horticultural Department of Delaware Technical College gives poinsettias that they grow..
Many families come together as a group to help deliver on Christmas morning. One family from the Lewes area has been delivering for 22 years. Their children were small when they first volunteered; now they have graduated from college and continue to come together as a family to deliver the meals. They know that the best gift a senior can receive on this day is a one-on-one personal visit and the time that each volunteer spends with them.
If you or your organization would like to help deliver a meal on Christmas Day, donate a wrapped gift, donate non-perishable food items, or donate pet food for Operation Christmas CHEER 2018, please contact Florence Mason at 302-515-3045.