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Pine Valley Lodge residents get gift ninja’d

Photo submitted by Danielle Burdett, PVL activity coordinator

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

Residents of the Pine Valley Lodge (PVL) in Hinton received a large load of gifts last week, donated by numerous locals in the hopes of spreading some happiness.

Hannah Fitzgerald was inspired by a gift ninja group she joined on Facebook, to gather up donations and send them to the seniors home.

Ninja gifting refers to giving someone a gift who is not expecting it. Fitzgerald said a few others wanted to do something and she reached out to Danielle Burdett, PVL’s activity coordinator, to offer organizing a collection, sanitization, and drop off of gifts for the home.

“I used to work in an old peoples home and I know enough about if there’s viruses and stuff you can’t just go drop stuff off for them. That’s too much for the staff to have to deal with and everything else,” Fitzgerald said.

Burdett spoke with management who then agreed as long as proper sanitization protocols were followed, Fitzgerald shared.

Hinton locals quickly began donating and Fitzgerald scheduled to pick up items before placing them at her closed office for a week.

She then sanitized everything before bringing them to PVL, who held onto the items a little bit longer before distributing them to residents. With the help of a couple of posts on public Hinton Facebook pages, around 25 people offered to donate items.

Fitzgerald added that she could have pushed the idea even more on Facebook, but she wasn’t too sure how to deliver all the items if there was too much.

“I ended up with two big boxes of books, a box of DVDs for movies, two huge Ikea bags full of board games, and playing cards, and crib boards. Two huge shopper bags full of snacks, two huge sacks of birdseed and bird feeders so they can feed the birds. Just so much stuff, puzzles and a whole case of crossword books and word searches,” Fitzgerald said.

Some had even made homemade gifts and others put together individual gift bags for the seniors.

One person donated $40, which Fitzgerald took to get a gift certificate from Opa’s Bake Shop.

“I went and saw Helena at Opa’s and said, ‘Listen, if I get a $40 gift certificate, what will that cover?’ She said, if they call the day before and order tray buns or something that she would make sure it was enough for all the residents. She’s actually donated kind of that way,” Fitzgerald added.

All donated items were split up between residents and everybody received something, she added.

“It was really cool, it’s just something really nice to be able to do it in the moment,” Fitzgerald said.

She also contacted the hospital in Hinton to ask what the protocol was for Hinton’s Continuing Care Centre. Since they’re attached to the hospital, they’re very locked down, she found out.

“I know a few people criticized me for not doing both old folks homes, but there was a reason for that and in the future maybe we’ll do something for them when the restrictions are relaxed a bit more,” Fitzgerald said.

She added that it would be really exciting to see the reactions of seniors to the gifts next time as well.

For now, she just enjoyed the photos of residents as they received their gifts from the community and heard how it went from Burdett.

Burdett told her the acts of kindness have been heartwarming.