By Rose Barrett
A Lucan mum-of-four is helping to spread some Christmas cheer to nursing home residents despite the Covid-19 restrictions.
Debi Nevin loved the pen pal idea so much she took it a stage further – encouraging people to donate gifts to be delivered to care homes.
Debi hasn’t been able to visit her own mother Joan Byrne, 83, at Marymount Care Centre due to pandemic restrictions.
She told Dublin Gazette: “I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be lovely to start a project and encourage people to donate gifts over Christmas specifically for residents in the local nursing homes.
“They’ve been through so much this year alone – so much trauma and isolation from their families and close friends. Alienation from the outside world and the elderly were the worst hit.”
Debi’s neighbour Ann Rogers volunteered her services and the duo enlisted local Community Garda, Noreen Barrett to help out.
“Noreen is best positioned to identify individuals living alone as she has been delivering prescriptions, shopping and checking in on them,” said Debi.
“We did up a flyer after the meeting which was mailed to 19 schools in the area, appealing for donations and put the word out on social media.”
Three local nursing homes, Marymount, Lucan Lodge and Griffeen Valley nursing home were delighted to be included in the Christmas initiative.
Debi said: “When we got the green light from the Superintendent, and began posting our appeal – the response was overwhelming!
“We asked for donations of fluffy socks, chocolates, magazines, dolls and cuddly toys for persons with Alzheimer’s – nothing that had glass or anything sharp. We have toiletry gift sets coming in by the new time!”
She added: “We hope to have a special Santa delivery, complete with a garda escort and to deliver about a week before Christmas. Lucan Gospel Choir have offered to join us and perform, it’s whipping up enthusiasm with everyone.
“Mammy and others realistically won’t get out for Christmas Day. These gifts will be something to reduce the loneliness in the lead-up to Christmas, also for those living alone”.
For more information see Christmas Community Spirit on FB and Instagram.