Special hands make light work

Andrew Wagstaff
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Sunset Ladies Auxiliary stuffs stockings on 20th anniversary

Special hands make light work

Pugwash - The silence is deafening.

For 20 years these ladies have been getting together and, although there are 10 of them sitting around the table, they are not talking to each other. They are too busy for that.

They are the Sunset Ladies Auxiliary, a volunteer organization set up to provide support to residents at Sunset Community, and on Dec. 16 they gathered for their annual tradition of stuffing Christmas stockings for every single resident at the residential care facility.

I think we all look forward to it every year, said Thelma Lockhart, one of the organizations original members. We all work together really well, just like a production line. Everyone has their own thing to do, and it makes it easier.

The ladies have become quite adept at filling the 135 stockings, with 23 minutes being their record time. They also fill candy bags, before being treated to an annual meal by the Sunset dietary staff.

The annual stocking-stuffing event is a highlight of the year for the ladies, who not only buy goodies for the stockings and candy bags, but have also been making the handmade stockings themselves for several years.

They sure appreciate them, said Lockhart, about the residents. The only problem is we have a hard time getting the stockings back afterwards, because they like to keep them and carry them around with them.

The Christmas spirit is alive and well at Sunset, and the work of the ladies auxiliary is a major contributor to that, according to Bonnie Langille, manager of lifestyle and volunteer services, who is also marking her 20th year at the facility.

Of all her work at Sunset, working with the ladies has been one of the absolute delights, she said, adding that their presence contributes so much to the Christmas spirit for Sunset clients.

When they see the ladies coming, they know things are happening, and when they see them come through the door theyre happy, she said. They also know that these people have provided so many things to them, always stop and visit with them, and know many clients personally.

During the past two decades, the ladies have raised funds for the snoezelen sensory program, sent clients to camps, paid for buses for outings, and purchased equipment such as refrigerators, appliances, stereos, lawn furniture, education supplies, blood pressure cuffs and special equipment for showers.

Maggie Stone, who was a special guest at the stocking-stuffing event, recently donated two large cases of knitting for the residents, including mittens, slippers, hats and jackets.

And none of the ladies have family members living at the facility, according to Langille.

There isnt one lady in the group that has any personal ties, she said. Theyre here because they want to be.

Lockhart said she has enjoyed every minute of her 20 years with the auxiliary, as it is satisfying to be able to things for the appreciative clients and work with a great bunch of women. Fellow member Shirley Bidwell echoed those sentiments.

Ive been on a lot of committees, and this is one committee where we all work together, she said. We have never had discord in 20 years.

Organizations: Sunset Community

Geographic location: Pugwash

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