Members of Port Moody Rotary have been brightening the Christmas season for residents at Eagle Ridge Manor for 18 years.
This year, they’re hoping their efforts will bring an extra glow of happiness and community to the seniors that have been mostly shut in and away from visitors for months.
Saturday, a crew of about six volunteers strung more than 1,000 ft. of colourful lights along the eaves and around the trees and bushes at the seniors care facility next to Eagle Ridge Hospital. They also affixed to the windows dozens of snowflakes that had been crafted by students at Moody middle school of the arts.
Claire Lambert of Port Moody Rotary said the effort is an extension of the club’s charitable giving to the manor over the years that has helped purchase equipment such as lift chairs. The season also usually includes a lavish festive dinner for the residents along with a visit from Father Christmas as well as carollers. But with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, those won’t be possible this year. Instead, the meal will be prepared off-site and delivered.
Peter Cuthbert has been climbing to the top of a rickety wooden ladder to string the lights — all of them donated by Canadian Tire in Coquitlam — since the decorating first began when a case worker remarked how dark the manor seemed on winter nights. He said the need to bring some joy to the elderly residents seems especially imperative this year as everyone navigates the public health crisis.
“It will sure bring a bit of extra Christmas cheer,” he said.
Lambert admitted it can be especially difficult to glimpse some of the residents through the window but not be able to interact with them, and knowing families are similarly separated.
“They’re completely isolated,” she said. “I can’t even imagine.”