Featured graphic for St. Irenaeus Health Ministry during COVID-19. Photo by Rosemary Lewallen.

Giving Tree Project aims to support Care Center residents, their caregivers

It’s not too early to plan for Christmas! The Giving Tree Project is an annual outreach by St. Irenaeus Health Ministry that has been a tradition at St. Irenaeus for the last 35 years. Our aim is to show residents, no matter their religion, that they are not forgotten during the holiday season. In past years, Health Ministry has provided Santa and caroling music led by giving volunteers and gifts donated by our parishioners, but this year we have to curtail these parties due to health concerns.

However, we believe that remembering these residents with a gift is especially vital in 2020. Long-term care residents have been sequestered since March with COVID 19 concerns and probably haven’t been able to visit with their loved ones. The facilities that St. Irenaeus Health Ministry serves are: Harvest Retirement in Buena Park, Sunrise La Palma, Karlton Residential Center in Anaheim, Health Care Center Orange County in Buena Park, and Anaheim Terrace Care Center (Genesis).

Each resident at the five facilities will receive a gift, so we need 405 gifts. Due to health restrictions, we must purchase the gifts rather than ask for parishioners to purchase and donate them. Plus, for the first time, Health Ministry plans to give gifts to the staff at each of the five facilities to show our appreciation for the extra work, long hours and anxiety they have endured this year and are still enduring due to the restrictions of the pandemic. These essential workers are heroes who have put their health at risk daily.

This is a huge financial undertaking, so we are asking the community at large, as well as St. Irenaeus parishioners, for monetary donations so that we can purchase gifts. Checks should be made out to St. Irenaeus Church, with “H.M. Giving Tree” written on the memo line, and dropped off or mailed to St. Irenaeus Church, 5201 Evergreen Ave., Cypress, CA 90630. The deadline for receiving checks is Sunday, November 8th. If you have any questions, please contact Monica Kovach at 310-490-6113.

Residents at long-term care facilities appreciate a reminder that they are valued and loved. So, please consider putting a smile on the face of these older adults, many of whom are lonely. Thanks to the leadership of Monica Kovach (Health Ministry Facilitator), Carol Reed (Asst. Facilitator), Grace Francis (Chair of Care Facilities Ministry) the Health Ministry Board and your donation, 2020 Giving Tree Project will be successful again this year. No one’s too old for Holiday cheer!

This article was written by Rosemary Lewallen.

Featured Photo by Rosemary Lewallen.