Thursday, 17 December 2020 17:12

von Drehle, other businesses provide presents for Richmond County seniors

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Justin Dawkins, right, and Judy Ayer from von Drehle drop off Christmas bags Thursday at Richmond County Aging Services. Justin Dawkins, right, and Judy Ayer from von Drehle drop off Christmas bags Thursday at Richmond County Aging Services. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Several local businesses are making contributions to help Richmond County seniors have a special Christmas.

On Thursday, von Drehle’s Plant Manager Justin Dawkins and Human Resources Manager Judy Ayer dropped 30 gift bags at Richmond County Aging Services.

The bags are filled with paper products, toiletries and everyday items “that the seniors can use,” according to Ayer.

“We do this every year,” Ayer said. “We love giving to the seniors, and I know it’s much appreciated.

Ayer said von Drehle has been contributing to the senior community at Christmastime for at least the past five years.

“This is one of our favorite things to do,” she added.

Aging Services Director Jacquline Welch said this is the first year the agency has had a “Secret Santa” program, headed up by Pam Hill.

Welch said Hill is familiar with the Meals on Wheels clients, so she would know what the needs are, adding that a lot of local businesses heard what they were doing and decided to help out.

“We’ve been able to do Secret Santa for roughly around 60 seniors, and they have really been appreciative,” Hill said. “We’ve received calls from people who have received the gifts, letting us know how appreciative they were and how they’ve been through so much and it really came in handy.”

Some have received heaters, blankets, Ensure — “things that they have trouble with purchasing on a regular basis,” Hill said.

The office is still loaded with supplies the agency plans to deliver within the next week.

“We’ve had a lot of seniors call and cry over the phone saying ‘thank you’ for all the gifts they’ve gotten so far,” Welch said. “It’s pretty amazing.

“We’ve done pretty good this year with the community chipping in.”

While the seniors have enjoyed the gifts, Hill said some are disappointed that the annual Christmas party had to be canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Welch said this is the first time the agency has ever had to cancel the event.

“Last year was some people’s first year, so they were looking forward to this year,” Hill said. “And for them to realize that, with the pandemic, they’re not able to do that is a disappointment.”