Bringing the holiday spirit to seniors

Christmas Cheer Cruise is Sunday at Friendship Haven

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Katie Bills, of Fort Dodge, left, and Colleen Peace, owner of The Wellness Project, pose with cards and gifts next to a Christmas Tree at The Wellness Project. The Wellness Project invites the public to partake in a Christms Cheer Cruise through Friendship Haven on Sunday. Visitors are encouraged to drop off cards or gifts to Santa, who will then deliver them to residents at a later time.

It’s no secret that Christmas will likely look a lot different for many people this year.

Although some things remain the same — like Christmas lights shining throughout the city and stockings hung with care inside people’s homes –the number of people who will gather together to enjoy the holiday will likely be diminished due to the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

And there’s one group in particular that has been heavily isolated since the pandemic began in March — senior citizens.

Recognizing that fact, Colleen Peace, owner of The Wellness Project, thought it was time to spread Christmas cheer, specifically for the senior population.

“Sometimes I think they’re forgotten,” Peace said. “Many of the residents have been quarantined for months and have been unable to see and visit their families and friends.”

So Peace along with her friend, Katie Bills, of Fort Dodge, contacted Teresa Banks at Friendship Haven about the possibility of a Christmas cruise through the campus.

“She was totally on board with the idea and helped put everything in play,” Peace said.

The public is encouraged to drive through the Friendship Haven community, 420 Kenyon Road, on Sunday to spread Christmas cheer.

“Drive through, enjoy some Christmas carols, wave or honk to the residents and if able, please bring a gift or even a homemade card,” Bills said. “It doesn’t have to be anything outrageous. Maybe even a card made by their kid. If they want to do pen pal stuff they can leave a return address on the envelope and they can keep it going.”

And Peace encourages people to add a little Christmas color to their vehicles, too.

“People can decorate their cars with signs or decorations if they want to,” Peace added.

The cruise will be from 2 to 4 p.m.

Volunteers will direct traffic the entire way through, Peace said.

She said the public is welcome to talk to Santa from their car, hand off their presents and go.

“Santa will take the gifts and hand them to volunteers,” Peace said. “Small gestures and Christmas cheer can go a long way this time of year.”

The gifts will be delivered to residents at a later time.

“Teresa said the staff and residents are so excited,” Peace said.

There are 15 different stations planned where volunteers will be singing carols, Peace said.

Volunteer carolers are still needed for the event.

Those who wish to contribute to the event but can’t make it can drop off gifts or cards at the following sponsor locations: River Hops Brewing, Rush Hour Clothing Co. and Shimkat Motor Co.

For more information contact Peace at 515-206-5172 or Bills at 302-1972.

If you go:

What: Christmas Cheer Cruise

When: Sunday

Time: 2-4 p.m.

Where: Friendship Haven, 420 Kenyon Road

Sponsors: River Hops Brewing, Rush Hour Clothing Co. and Shimkat Motor Co.


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