The holidays can be both happy and sad in a facility like Pines of Sarasota. For 73 years we have watched the families that come to share the cheer of the holidays with their family members, and we have also seen the residents who spend the holidays alone. That is why people like Holly, our activities coordinator, and people like Donna, who coordinates our volunteer staff, are so important. They bring life and merriment all year long, but it is seen in such significant ways during the holidays.
For the first time in almost two years, Pines is now able to have residents mingling with their families and the public. Last year, COVID caused a complete shut down of all outside visitation including residents’ families, and our volunteer staff of over two hundred, who were sorely missed. This year brings with it new excitement and hope because those restrictions are now lifted.
We, as a senior care facility, have now reintroduced our Christmas lineup of activities and the residents’ reactions could not have been better. Ms. Mo was brought to tears when we announced our Santa’s Workshop – volunteers from all over and of every age range came to take our residents to our on-campus thrift store, Fabulous Finds. While there, they were able to choose gifts, free of charge, for themselves or the people who matter the most to them. After choosing their special items, more amazing volunteers were on stand-by waiting to wrap the gifts for them to take with them.
For those that could not join us in the Thrift Shop, Santa’s Shop Cart made its rounds in our resident halls so every resident could choose a gift or two for those special people in their lives. It was an all-hands-on-deck affair designed to encourage our residents and have them join us in the holiday spirit! We know that love lives here, at Pines of Sarasota, we just did not realize that Santa and his helpers did, too!