A Czech Republic holiday tradition of providing Christmas presents for seniors has made its way to Lehi’s Covington Senior Living with their annual angel tree. This is the third year that Czech native Martina Lane, community relations director at Covington Senior Living, has organized a giving tree for seniors in Utah who are lonely, abandoned, and living below the poverty level.
“There is such a need! Seniors are such an amazing population and so essential for our society. Their experience and wisdom are something we all should seek,” said Lane. “They still want to feel loved, needed, and respected, yet so many find themselves very lonely and forgotten – even destitute.”
Lane and her family participated in a similar Christmas giving program in the Czech Republic when they lived there four years ago. She knew the same idea would work in Utah. In 2018 Lane contacted the Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) in Orem and asked if Covington could help seniors living below the poverty level by getting them gifts on their Christmas wish list (MAG provides services and advocates for seniors in Utah). With a good deal of prompting, case workers were able to get their clients to write down a few items they wanted.
“Most of the things on their lists are needs, not wants. They ask for groceries, clothes, things like that,” said Lane. “It’s the same way in the Czech Republic. In years past there they’ve had seniors ask to go for a ride in a car or out for ice cream. Many of them are so lonely.”
This year there are 27 people on the Covington Angel Tree for Seniors, and Lane has created a donation page on Sign Up Genius. (LINK FOR WEB ONLY https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0a4ea8a828aaf85-covington1) Lane and other employees wrap the gifts, and she asks that a Christmas card be included with each donation. “Sometimes words of love, encouragement, and hope are priceless, even if they come from a complete stranger,” Lane explained.
“So many of the clients said the gifts were the only presents they would receive, and they waited until Christmas morning to open them,” said Samantha Collier, who helped case workers deliver gifts in December 2019.
Donations to the Covington Angel Tree for Seniors are due by Dec. 14 at Covington Senior Living in Lehi. Email Martina Lane firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.