Community

Seniors enjoy a special Christmas

Paul Asher opens a Christmas present in the dining room at Bay Vista Commons during a Christmas lunch at the senior center. Seniors enjoy a special Christmas - Andy Jones/staff photo
Paul Asher opens a Christmas present in the dining room at Bay Vista Commons during a Christmas lunch at the senior center. Seniors enjoy a special Christmas
— image credit: Andy Jones/staff photo

Five large trucks pulled into the entrance of Bremerton’s Bay Vista Commons last week, packed full of gifts for the residents of the senior living facility.

The residents knew they would receive donated Christmas presents, but none of them expected as many.

“I just thought we would be delivered one gift, not four or five,” said Amelia Wilcox, who lives at the facility. “I wasn’t expecting all these. This is so much better than last year, we are getting so much more.”

Wilcox’s box of presents included a three-piece knit set with a hat, gloves and a scarf, a fleece jacket and a box of hot cocoa. The pink slippers were her favorite.

The 69 seniors at the facility each made Christmas lists, consisting of two presents they wanted and one they needed.

The lists were put on tags at a Christmas tree at Kitsap Mall. Every year the mall has a similar program for children in need. This was the first year the mall had a tree for seniors.

“Some of them just wanted socks or 3 Musketeers bars,” mall spokeswoman Yvonne Tomascak said. “The people of Kitsap County really made Christmas for these seniors. These are people who wouldn’t have had one without them.”

More than 500 gifts were donated, many of which were not even on the lists.

“Almost all our residents are on Medicare or Medicaid and can’t afford to buy presents,” said Cindy Long, activities director for Bay Vista Commons. “All of them really deserve it. They didn’t know they would get practically everything they wanted. I’m overwhelmed.”

The presents were given to the seniors during a buffet lunch, complete with Santa Claus, musical entertainment and a range of food options. The food came from a $500 grant from Macerich, the company which owns Kitsap Mall.

It was Paul Asher’s first Christmas at the facility. He received a black sweater, gloves, a Hershey’s Pot of Gold box and a box of peppermints.

He said the gifts were more than he could have asked for.

“You sure don’t get something like this every day,” he said.

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