(photo: gift unwrapping party on Zoom with Friendship Center families)
“Character and resiliency appear when challenges emerge”- AnonymousThis year has been marked by challenges and heartache. Through it all, however, organizations in our community have held steadfastly to their commitments of serving those in need. The Unity Shoppe, a group that has a long history of local impact and support, is one of those organizations. Every year, Unity Shoppe provides personalized, hand-wrapped gifts for seniors in Santa Barbara. At places like Friendship Center, these gifts are a key part in celebrating the Christmas season as they remind the seniors that someone is thinking about and loves them.With all that has gone on this year, we at Friendship Center did not expect that Unity Shoppe would be running their gift giving program… my, how we were wrong! In early December, Unity Shoppe dropped off forty beautifully wrapped, highly personalized and labelled gifts for each and every one of our senior program members. The Friendship Center team cheerfully delivered the presents to our homebound senior friends and were all met with unprecedented gratitude and excitement. We invited the seniors to join us for an unwrapping party via Zoom on December 17th and were blown away with how much detail went into these perfectly packaged gifts. Our cat obsessed friend received a cheetah print scarf and another member received a hand-knit blanket with a kind note from the creator, Shannon, that she treasures even more than the blanket itself.The Unity Shoppe’s generous gift program for seniors is always deeply appreciated but this year, perhaps due to the unexpected nature of it or perhaps due to the gloom surrounding us, the gifts meant so much more, to the members, families and to the staff.Friendship Center is committed to fostering a close-knit community of seniors that promotes love, respect and camaraderie. We would not be able to achieve our mission without the support of community partners such as Unity Shoppe. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you, Unity Shoppe team, for your dedication and support when we needed it most.