The Seville, a retirement community in Orem, is celebrating the holiday season by giving back. Residents along with the staff are assembling 1,000 stockings to distribute to the community.
Appropriately named, Christmas Lutu, the sales leader at the Seville, is the stocking project’s coordinator. In the beginning, he only planned to raise enough to make a stocking for every Seville resident. However, the project quickly expanded to be much larger.
“I’ve been marketing in this business for a while, so I fired out some texts and in the space of probably a day and a half we had enough for 250 stockings, and I was like, ‘This is awesome,’” Lutu said, “In my head, I was like, ‘We can do this for others. Let’s just do 1,000.’”
While helping assemble the stockings, the residents were unaware that along with giving them to the community, they would also be receiving their own.
Some of the places these stockings will be gifted to are: the Friends of Orem Senior Center, Provo Skilled Nursing and Rehab, Orem Skilled Nursing and Rehab, Stonehenge Skilled Nursing and Rehab, Legacy Village, Sunrise Terrace and the Spanish Fork Senior Citizen Center.
Everything filling the stockings and the stockings themselves were donated to the Seville. These donations range from toothbrushes and toothpaste, oranges, peanuts, candy canes, gloves and the stocking itself. Between local businesses and private donors, they’ve also raised close to $1,800 in cash. Lutu said they happily put a note with the donating company’s name and a thank you card in each stocking, but many donors have opted for anonymity instead.
After the success of this year, Lutu is even more ambitious for next Christmas.
“So next year, I thought, ‘I don’t know, let’s try and do 5,000.’ I hate saying that right now, because right now, I’d be happy if I never see another stocking,” Lutu said.
Lutu said he sees combatting senior isolation as a huge part of his job. Helping them give back to the community is a part of this. Another way The Seville combats isolation is providing activities the seniors can participate in.
When speaking about the staff who organize these activities, one of the residents, Judy White, said, “it’s always good around here. All the people are lovely.”
Planning these activities mainly falls on Heather Valdez, the resident enrichment coordinator. She plans activities throughout the whole year, but this time of year the community is eager to pitch in.
“During the holidays I don’t have my regular entertainment, I actually have so many volunteers that we have up to two to three concerts a day here during the whole month of December,” Valdez said, “Basically it’s a party over here the whole month.”
Some favorite activities this season were taking a bus to see the Spanish Fork Christmas lights, concerts, visiting Temple Square in Salt Lake City and the resident Christmas party.
On Christmas day at 12:30 p.m., The Seville is hosting a holiday lunch available to the community. Any seniors (55+) are welcome to RSVP and join the celebration.
Valdez said they want to make sure everyone has somewhere to be for Christmas. “There’s a lot of seniors that get family and then some people get missed so we wanted to make sure that people in the community were getting something for Christmas.”