Baldock woman to repeat reverse advent calendar idea to surprise the elderly at Christmas

PUBLISHED: 10:33 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:33 21 November 2017

Charlotte Stephens-King hands out presents to unsuspecting elderly residents at Baldock Community Centre. Picture: Karen Stephens

Charlotte Stephens-King hands out presents to unsuspecting elderly residents at Baldock Community Centre. Picture: Karen Stephens

Archant

We may still be in November, but Christmas spirit is already is full swing in Baldock as the community comes together to bring joy to the elderly.

Karen's daughter Charlotte Stephens-King attended last year's dinner to play music for the elderly. Picture: Karen Stephens Karen's daughter Charlotte Stephens-King attended last year's dinner to play music for the elderly. Picture: Karen Stephens

The ‘reverse advent calendar’ scheme is returning to the town for a second year, with residents placing items in a hamper for each day to give to the elderly community over the festive period.

Karen Stephens got the idea from a post on social media, and decided to pitch it to the people of Baldock on Facebook.

She was overwhelmed with the reception it got – with around 30 volunteers contributing hampers to the cause.

After getting in touch with Baldock Cmmunity Centre, Jackie decided that donating the full boxes to those who may not have many people in their lives would be the best option.

Karen surprised the elderly with care packages last year's senior citizen's lunch held at Baldock community centre. Picture: Karen Stephens Karen surprised the elderly with care packages last year's senior citizen's lunch held at Baldock community centre. Picture: Karen Stephens

“The response last year was better than expected, so we actually had ones leftover,” she told the Comet.

“I saw something similar on Facebook and I just thought it was a nice thing to do, especially because I love Christmas and a lot of people in the community are not as fortunate as I am.

“Myself and my two daughters Charlotte and Laura went to the Christmas dinner that they hold at the community centre for the elderly last year, and my eldest daughter and her friend sang Christmas songs for them.

“The nicest thing was they thought we were just there to help out, but at the end of the meal we brought out all of the hampers.

Karen's daughter Laura will be helping out at the Christmas dinner again this year. Picture: Karen Stephens Karen's daughter Laura will be helping out at the Christmas dinner again this year. Picture: Karen Stephens

“I’ve spoken to the lady who organises it at the community centre, and she said they still talk about it now.

“Last year we had probably about 30 hampers which was fantastic – and this year I’ve had around 50 people get in touch already.

“It doesn’t take much to organise, and the look on the people’s faces when we gave them out was just priceless – these are people who live on their own and may not get to do much at Christmas time.

“They’re just so humbled that people have thought about them.

“It’s also enjoyable for people contributing – a lot of people enjoy doing it with their kids, and it’s just a nice community thing to do.”

If you’re interested in getting involved this year, contact Karen on Facebook via the We love Baldock group or email her on karen.stephens@polfed.org before the end of November. The hampers will be handed out on December 20.

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