CAPTION: The bags contain knitted angels and crosses, chocolates, prayers and poems by local school children

Christmas Bags for Care Homes

Posted: 8th December, 2020

A church community in West Devon has organised a special Covid-safe Christmas celebration for residents of two local care homes.

Volunteers in Lamerton have made-up 65 Christmas gift bags containing hand-held angels and crosses knitted by ladies in the village, a large-print copy of the carol Away in a Manger, diabetic chocolates, a prayer card with The Lords Prayer on it and a large print copy of the Christmas story.

Children from Lamerton Church of England Primary School have also made cards to go in the bags and written a poem to every resident.

Annie Jefferies, her husband Mike and dog Harry have been playing songs to care home residents through a window

Annie Jefferies, one of the organisers from the South Tamar Mission Community, described the bags as “a gift of love from the village”.

She said “In pre-Covid times four of us would regularly go and visit our two homes in Lamerton village.

“All visits stopped in March and residents have not been allowed any physical contact from family or friends for nearly nine months.

“Some residents rarely have visitors and rely on people from the church to visit. Many of them are confused, frightened and and suffering from varying degrees of dementia.”

Annie said on Remembrance Day she and her husband visited one of the care homes and played World War Two songs through an open window into the residents’ lounge.

“The residents seemed to come alive and were soon singing along to Vera Lynn, George Formby, Gracie Fields and their favourite stars.

“It was a surprising success and very moving.”

Some of the Lamerton carol singing group in pre-Covid times

Now Annie and a team from her church are planning another visit to deliver the Christmas gift bags, perform the Nativity story and play Christmas carols.

“The home has a large window onto a garden area where, with a loudspeaker, it is easy to sing from a safe distance and the residents can clearly see any characters in dress,” she said.

“We will only have Joseph and Mary with the baby.

“We will do the “story telling” and carol singing a few times as repetition is important for the residents and their memory .

“Father Christmas will appear on Christmas Eve at the end, to hand over the gift bags .

“The Vicar will also be there to give the residents a Blessing.”

Annie said the bags were a way of engaging the church and local community, including the primary school, in supporting the care homes at Christmas “in a loving and meaningful way.”