The team of ten volunteers spent a few evenings preparing for the event: shopping for prizes, packing goodie bags, folding paper cranes, organizing the day’s activities and planning the menu for tea snacks. The afternoon itself began with introductions, followed by a few minutes of hi’s and hello’s to the elderly folks. Each elder was then given a paper crane to decorate the Christmas tree with a personal Christmas wish written on the crane. The volunteers helped the elders through this activity by writing for those who were unable to write and then walking or wheeling them to the tree to hang up their wishes.
Next on the agenda, ten of the best dressed elderly were asked to strut their stuff on a makeshift catwalk, following which three were chosen as the best dressed: an elderly man wearing a colourful Christmas inspired shirt, a lady in a pretty pink Cheong Sam and another wearing an elegant blue silk top. A bonus prize was given to an elderly gentleman who entertained the group with dancing skills that Michael Jackson would have been proud of.
Thereafter, the group entered Karaoke mode with a series of Chinese Christmas songs to build up the festive mood. The songs included the Christmas classic 'ding ding dang' - that's Jingle Bells in case you were wondering. It was heartwarming to see smiles on their faces as they sang and clapped along. Then the team upped the pace a further notch by introducing some competition between the elders through the game 'Pass the Parcel'. Anticipation and eagerness bubbled as the music stopped, parcel landed, wrapping was torn and a loud cheer went up for the winners.
After all the excitement, it was time for the elders to have a cup of tea and some snacks, while the volunteers engaged them in some chatter and photo-taking.
It was a wonderfully rewarding experience to share in this joyful celebration with the elderly people of St Luke's. Their day was visibly brightened by the team’s efforts and it just goes to show how much impact we can all make to people's lives just by smiling, engaging people and listening to their stories.
Our elderly friends had one final request: 'When are you coming back'?