Help Spread Cheer this Holiday

Help Spread Cheer this Holiday

Volunteer to visit the elderly locally

For the holiday season in 2014, Ann Bloxberg found her holiday spirit in visiting local skilled nursing and rehab facilities right before Christmas to spread holiday cheer among the residents. At first she and her volunteers gave gifts to about 150 elderly folks. In 2018 her project had grown to reach more than 300. This year, she anticipates reaching as many as 400.

“I started this group when I realized, for the first time in my life, I’d be spending a Christmas without any family, including my kids,” said Bloxberg. “While speaking to my mom, she mentioned that she was dropping off a few gifts at a nursing home and signing them simply, ‘From Santa.’ It got me thinking and I decided to outreach to local facilities to ask about getting gifts and spending time with elderly folks who didn’t have any family.”

Bloxberg then called several facilities and didn’t get any calls back. Then one day, four facilities called at once, and the project grew from there. 

“I didn’t know how I’d be able to choose only a few people to give to, so I turned to social media asking for volunteers to visit and help donate gifts,” she said. “A fantastic group of people came through —including Santa!”

According to Bloxberg, some volunteer families have shown up each year and have made the program a part of their holiday family traditions. To volunteer time, donate gifts or create a new “Mission of Merriment” call (415) 515-5832 or visit www.presentswithpresence.org.