As the holiday season concludes, let’s explore the initiatives undertaken by member organization of the Petits Frères des Pauvres international network in the final months of 2023. Discover the efforts of various organization worldwide that have enabled isolated elderly individuals to spend time surrounded by volunteers while also raising awareness among the public.
LBFE organized a series of events to celebrate Thanksgiving, ranging from festivities to home visits. This year, LBFE organized four Thanksgiving parties, reaching different sectors of the city of Chicago.
“Thanksgiving was about creating opportunities to gather together and share a meal and good conversation,” said LBFE Director of Program Heather Dudzinski. “No matter whether that meant being part of a group of 100 at a party or a group of two or three or four during a visit to an older adult in their home, it’s all about sharing a connection with people.”
Before Thanksgiving, volunteers also shared warm moments with residents of nursing homes, bringing them gifts. Volunteers also allowed some elderly individuals to celebrate Thanksgiving by providing them with meals prepared by home chefs. Elderly individuals living in rural areas were not forgotten; a month after Thanksgiving, they celebrated Christmas with volunteers who visited them, sharing conversations, festive meals, and gifts.
The testimony of an accompanied person highlights the importance of the actions taken during the holidays: ” When people call or come by, it kind of uplifts you. It lets you know that someone cares and is checking in on you.”
The holiday season is synonymous with increased loneliness for the elderly but also greater generosity from donors. At the end of 2023, LBFE raised funds on “Giving Tuesday” on November 28. These donations will support various programs such as birthday celebrations, festive meals, and holiday programs.
In Boston, home visits and festivities were also on the agenda. LBFE’s team had the opportunity to share its mission and intergenerational programs in an interview on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Nikki Shults, the director, highlighted LBFE Boston’s activities, emphasizing the importance of actions during the holiday season. To learn more about LBFE Boston’s actions, click on this link to discover the interview: [Link to the interview].
In San Francisco:
LBFE San Francisco organized its first party since December 2019, bringing together 112 volunteers and seniors for festive craft activities and lunch. To ensure an optimal atmosphere, the meal was accompanied by a Philippine choir.
Between December 23 and 25, San Francisco volunteers mobilized to organize home and online visits, as well as gift deliveries to spread holiday joy!
As a partner of Petits Frères des Pauvres, the parish of Saint Albert the Great added a special touch to the year-end festivities. A Christmas meal was shared with the elderly, accompanied by very useful gifts to improve the daily lives of the elderly. Participants received mosquito nets to protect themselves from mosquito bites during the rainy season. The distribution of Independence Soup on January 1, 2023, also marked a moment of joy and reunions, wishing everyone an excellent year 2024.
“Amigos de los Mayores” launched its Christmas 2023 campaign, “Esta Navidad, te puede tocar a ti” (This Christmas, it could be your turn), highlighting an often-overlooked reality: loneliness among our elders. During this festive period, the campaign reminds us that many seniors find themselves alone during the holidays. More than just a fundraising campaign, it is a call for solidarity and participation in a society where the elderly have their place.
Albert Quiles, director of Amigos de los Mayores, emphasizes the importance of this campaign to raise funds that allow the association to organize warm moments. In these difficult economic times, society’s collaboration is essential to continue end-of-year actions, reminding us that “no one is immune to unwanted loneliness.”
In total, the organized actions involved the hosting of 25 Christmas meals, allowing nearly 2,000 seniors to celebrate the holidays and be surrounded. Christmas baskets were also distributed to those who could not travel, bringing a little comfort directly to their homes. Since mid-November, support had also been strengthened. We know that during this particular period, the isolation of the most vulnerable intensifies. This year’s awareness campaign demonstrates the importance of the actions carried out by Amigos de los Mayores: “También te puede tocar a ti” ([YouTube link]).
Hundreds of Christmas meals and home visits took place all over the country. For the second consecutive year, meals were organized in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The past weeks have seen a series of festive events organized by Les Petits Frères in Quebec. Across the province’s 12 regions, traditional Christmas meals brought participants and volunteers together, creating a festive atmosphere with dance, music, and, for some, a visit from Santa Claus. These celebrations unfolded from December 21 to 25, brightening the holiday season for many isolated elderly individuals.
For seniors unable to attend in person, volunteers conducted home visits, bringing along small tokens of care, and allowing these community members to share a warm moment.
As we approach the end of 2023, Les Petits Frères have also shared the touching story of Mrs. Diane and her accompanying volunteer, Pierre. Mrs. Diane articulates the tangible changes in her life thanks to the organization and its volunteers. This testimonial underscores the concrete impact of Les Petits Frères’ actions in Quebec.
Find out more about Diane’s story: [Les traits d’union] Il n’y a pas d’âge pour donner une seconde chance au bonheur – Les Petits Frères (petitsfreres.ca)
The holiday season represents a special time for the network’s organizations every year. During these festive periods, isolation deepens, and inequalities accentuate. That is why all associations mobilize worldwide to allow the most vulnerable to celebrate the holidays and share warm moments. To support their actions and combat the isolation and precariousness of the elderly, support the International Federation of Petits Frères des Pauvres: