The Associated Press published a story covering how Italians spread joy at nursing homes during the holidays “after months of near-total isolation for its residents.” Those behind the holiday cheer are called the “grandchildren of Santa Claus”: people who are committed to spreading holiday cheer to nursing home residents, “many of who live far from their families or don’t have any family members left.”
This year, “Santa’s Grandchildren” volunteers have sent over 5,800 gifts to 228 Italian nursing homes. Many of the volunteers partook in this new tradition to fill their own lives with some holiday cheer, as well as to bless residents during the holidays. One volunteer signed up when she couldn’t return home to Italy from the U.S. for Christmas. Another lost both of her grandparents this year, but “still want[ed] to be a grandchild.” Volunteers sent gifts and joined on virtual calls with the recipients, creating friendships and potential future in-person meetings after pandemic restrictions ease.
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