Seniors Secret Service Organization Overview
Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals 60 years or older who are alone or isolated in the community. We are a volunteer based non-profit organization that has been providing cheer to isolated and lonely seniors since 1985. We currently operate three programs, two of which operate year-round. Additionally, since March of 2020 we have been supporting seniors who have basic needs that are not being met due to Covid19 restrictions.
In 2020 over 5050 isolated seniors were matched with volunteer Secret Santas. We provide the Secret Santa with a seniors profile and they go shopping and purchase needed items. Our seniors live in a range of different housing from independent living up to 24 hour care facilities.
2020 brought new challenges with all the Covid19 restrictions. We knew it was important to continue our Christmas Cheer program as for many of our seniors, this is the only opportunity they have during the year to access new clothes, shoes and personal items as well to hopefully receive a little something that brightens their day. By moving to a uniform packing box for all the gifts we were able to reduce the number of volunteers needed from 200+ to less than 20 at any time. While this process was costly, it was money well spent to ensure that the seniors who had been even more isolated over the year still received some much needed Christmas Cheer.
In March 2020, Covid19 restrictions were instituted in all the long-term care homes throughout the province. The restrictions meant that seniors living in these facilities were not allowed out into the community and they were not allowed to have visitors in to see them. In many cases seniors were restricted to their own room with very little interaction with others.
We reached out to our volunteers and asked that they support our Caring Messages for Seniors program by writing cards and letters and having their kids create drawings and other masterpieces to send to the lonely seniors. To date, we have sent out over 6500 messages of caring and hope to isolated seniors living in Calgary and the surrounding rural communities.
In addition to the card program, since March 2020, we have supplied over 800 care packages to seniors. These packages include not only basic needs items such as toiletries and Kleenex, but also things to brighten their day such as treats and games.
At this time, we receive no government funding except for a casino fundraiser held every 18 months (our 2020 casino fundraiser was cancelled and has not yet been rescheduled). We do not receive ongoing funding through the United Way. All of our funds come from corporate, individual and foundation donors. Our annual budget is approximately $259,000. We operate with one full time staff and several seasonal support staff at Christmas.
Thank you notes received from our seniors
- “I left that box for 3 days and then opened it - took out the presents and placed them by my little tree and discovered the chocolates, candies and chai latte. Those gifts are more than I have had accumulative over the last decade! I would have been thrilled with a CD and a box of chocolates - just saying. I can hardly wait to open the presents! I’m like a little kid itching to open my presents! Thank you. “
- “I want to take a moment to say how much I appreciate all of the beautiful gifts that you gave me this Christmas!! All of the gifts are very special to me, and were presented so nicely!!! I especially enjoyed receiving the Eddie Bauer, scarf and hat as well two pairs of warm gloves! I’m grateful for all the thought and care that went into choosing these beautiful items. Thank you, all so very much for giving me a good Christmas! Also, thank you to the little Child who drew some pictures for me and sent a message to me in my Wonderful Christmas Card! I wish all of you A Very Happy and Healthy New Year!”
- “A huge thank you for the wonderful Christmas basket delivered to me. It was so beautifully packed, with soft tissue and pretty little bags, that were a pleasure to open, and made extra special with the gifts for my cat to play with. I have never seen her so excited, and everything was so lovely, perfect for both of us, the best Christmas gift I’ve had for a long while. The hand soap is perfect for me, I love the smell. I loved the taste of new cookies, and chocolates I haven’t had before, such a treat. My cat knew instantly that there was something for her in the box. She was all over it on Christmas morning, and for a little girl of 7 yrs. now, she had a lot more spirit jumping all over the tissue and wrapping for days. So lovely. I can’t thank you enough for making our Christmas day memorable. Many, many thanks to all of you for this kind service.”