Angels are at work at Westsyde this time of year.
These angels are generous community members led by the Recreation team at The Hamlets Westsyde. They make sure the holiday season is merry and bright for every resident of Westsyde, especially those living away from their families.
This mission inspired the “Angel Tree”—a Christmas tree that can be spotted in the Westsyde front entrance every December, brimming with angel ornaments made by Westsyde Secondary School students marked with the names of every resident.
The idea is that nobody gets left behind at Christmastime, that everyone gets a gift, explained Nicole and Lizzy, who are part of the Hamlets’ Recreation team.
“It’s all based on donations,” says Nicole. “People from the community will come to the front area of the Hamlets, they will take one of the angels with a resident’s name on it off the tree, they’ll go buy a present, wrap it, and attach the angel to it, bring it back to the Hamlets and put it under the tree.”
Nicole and Lizzy then set up the gifts in the common area, where residents open them over a dinner complete with Santa and his elves.
The reaction from the residents is very positive. “They look forward to it,” says Lizzy, who stresses the importance of every one of their residents getting a gift to make their holidays bright. “The Angel Tree ensures everyone has a gift, and we also provide stockings for everyone.”
They rely heavily on donations from the community to create the roughly 300 stockings, posting item requests on their Facebook page. The team and the residents sincerely appreciate all donations.
“It’s pretty incredible what we receive back,” says Lizzy. “There are a large number of residents who don’t have families, so we make sure that everyone gets a present and a stocking for Christmas.”
“It’s important to us to ensure everybody is included,” added Nicole. “And we love to see the community get involved.”
Anyone who would like to help make sure all residents have a gift under the tree this Christmas is invited to stop by the Hamlets at 3255 Overlander Drive in Kamloops in December to pick an ornament off the Angel Tree. You are also invited to donate stocking stuffers based on the list that the Recreation team posted on their Facebook page: The Hamlets at Westsyde