LA PLUME — It wasn’t the North Pole but it was secret Santa’s workshop in Wyoming County and Keystone College students were playing the role of secret Santa’s elves, wrapping gifts that will anonymously go to hundreds of senior citizens.
“It’s definitely a better experience to give gifts instead of get, because it feels better,” said Keystone senior Alyssa Mecca.
The students, faculty, and staff at Keystone gather all the gifts, wrap them up and then they’re delivered to the elderly through Home Instead Senior Care of Clarks Summit.
Organizers say for many of the seniors, this will be their only Christmas gift.
“I hope it would be the exact thing as a little kid on Christmas day when he opens a package and gets that little toy,” said Keystone senior Shane Venesky.
Gift wrapper Sarah Dixon says it is. She’s been on both sides of the gift giving.
“I actually volunteer at the Golden Living Center in Scranton. I’m actually there when they get theirs,” Dixon said. “It’s great, yeah. The majority of them cry.”
The gifts certainly aren’t extravagant. A blanket only cost a few bucks, but to the senior citizen getting it, it is huge.
“A lot of the seniors live alone. They have no visitors during the holidays, so the opportunity for someone to deliver them a gift is such a heartwarming experience to have,” said Jessica Engel of Home Instead Senior Care.
The gift wrappers from Keystone’s sports management and recreation team have those gift recipients in mind as they work.
“My grandfather himself was helped by programs like this every year and he just passed recently, so being a part of something like this means a lot to me,” Venesky said.
It means a lot to all involved.