Elim Rehab and Care Center’s Resident Christmas Bazaar
By Bob Lind
Many tables, covered with holiday treasures. Many Elim Home residents. And many smiles. That was the scene in Elim’s chapel the week before Thanksgiving.
It was Elim’s second annual Christmas Bazaar for its residents, who could pick out gifts to give to their families and friends. And the gifts were all free. All the items were donated by Friends of Elim and Elim’s staff: “Our wonderful staff,” that is, in the words of Judy Iverson. Judy, an activities partner at Elim, headed the project again this year. But then again, it was her idea, she launched the first one in 2011, and it was such a success that Elim did it again this year.
It works this way: Friends and staff members donate items, some of which are family items, some bought, some home-made. For Judy, it was a bittersweet event, because some of the items she contributed had belonged to her mother, who died in January. Judy went over all the items and put a “price tag” on them in terms of tickets; one item was worth, say, five tickets, another 10 tickets, and so on. Then each resident coming to the event was given 40 tickets to “spend” on the items. But they were allowed to come back later and receive more tickets, if the supply of gift items held out.
And shop they did. With lots of gifts from which to choose: Christmas decorations, toys, items with Scripture written on them, jigsaw puzzles, cookbooks and other books, body lotion, slippers — something for everybody.
Ila Langerud, from Williston, N.D., and a resident of Elim since July, happily picked up one item and said she was going to find more. “But don’t write anything about what, because it’s all a surprise,” she said.
Outside the chapel, a group of members of Friends of Elim helped the residents wrap the gifts, using wrapping which also had been donated by staff and Friends of Elim members.
“We’ve been busy,” longtime Friends of Elim member Marge Johnson, Fargo, said. “We’ve had both men and women bringing their gifts here to wrap. They’re excited!”
Marge said some of the gifts were a challenge to wrap, such as a teapot, large Christmas ornaments and a big teddy bear. “We had to find boxes they’d fit in, but we found a way to wrap everything,” she said.
For Elim’s residents, the bazaar was a blessing. Naturally, residents want to give gifts to special people, but getting those gifts can be a challenge. For some, it’s difficult to get out to shop. For others, finances are an issue. For some, it is both. But now, thanks to Elim’s staff and the Friends of Elim, residents found gifts and had them wrapped, ready to give.
Well, with at least one exception. One woman picked up a candy dish, but didn’t want it wrapped because, she told Marge, “This is an early Christmas gift…for me!”