By Stephanie Sanchez
Can you imagine waking up on Christmas Day without any family nearby or any presents to open? Unfortunately, this is a situation that many people find themselves in every Christmas. However, every year our Special Programs team and the communities in Precinct 2 come together with the Adopt-a-Resident Program to make sure more people get to have a great holiday season.
This program began about 15 years ago when an employee noticed some residents in nursing homes were being forgotten during Christmas time. She began to give gifts to these residents every year, and after seeing the difference this made in their lives, it became an official program for the Precinct.
The name of the program originated from the people “adopting” a resident from an area nursing home located within the Precinct to provide gifts and holiday joy during the season for them or in some cases, even provide for them for the entire year. Unfortunately, these residents can feel forgotten, don’t have any family, and/or can’t provide for themselves.
Special Program Coordinators, Shelly Cooper, Amber Vasquez, and Angela Dizazzo along with North Channel Assistant, Di Casey, have been preparing for this special event since the beginning of October. They coordinate with nursing homes to get a list of residents in need and their wish lists. Once having that information, they begin to register people from the communities and well-known corporations that would like to bring joy to these residents.
“It is a lot of work, but it is very rewarding,” said Cooper. “I love seeing how the community comes together to make a difference in someone’s life,” she continued.
With November 22nd being the deadline to register to Adopt-a-Resident, gifts still poured into the office of Special Programs, where all the other gifts were being grouped by nursing home locations. Then the day finally came— it was time to deliver all these presents and bring joy to the residents in Precinct 2.
Two Precinct-transportation buses were required to divide routes and deliver the gifts in one day. The Special Programs team divided themselves and took off to their special mission. About 700 gifts were delivered to our nursing homes on Friday, December 6th. The team was able to visit some of the residents in a nursing home and see their faces fill up with happiness as the Christmas gifts were being put under their Christmas tree. A simple “Merry Christmas” made one of them smile as she took the arm of one of our Precinct 2 staff to reach for a hug. You could tell from the look of her face, this act of kindness and the work of our Precinct 2 Special Programs team had sparked so much joy in her.
Every now and then, take a look around and pay closer attention to the residents that make up our communities. They are also in need of love, care, and appreciation. Sometimes it is not about the gifts; it is about being remembered and being present in the moment.
To learn more about what Precinct 2 is doing in your communities and where we will be next, follow us on our social media pages: HarrisCoPct2 (Instagram and Twitter) and Harris County Precinct 2 (Facebook).