Bolingbrook Community Gives Back with Elder Angel Program

Sometimes, all you need is a teddy bear to hug. For one of the 127 seniors at area senior living facilities, that’s all he wanted for Christmas.  As part of the Elder Angel Program that Bolingbrook Park District organized, all of the residents got what they asked for. 

The Elder Angel Program at Bolingbrook Park District began four years ago when preschool staff would get items requested from seniors at local assisted living facilities and would place those items as ornaments on trees in the park district facilities. Customers that came into the facility could pick an ornament and purchase those items.  With it being a year of change, and only having one facility open, John Chase, superintendent of facilities, took it upon himself to make sure this holiday season didn’t go without helping out those in our community.

“It just wasn’t an acceptable option that all these folks who don’t have people come to visit them on a regular basis didn’t have the opportunity to receive gifts,” said Chase. 

Back in early December, a list was compiled of 127 residents from three different facilities in Bolingbrook. They wrote out what they wanted for the holidays and the district went to work. The list was initially sent out to park district staff to purchase items and in two hours, 30% of the list had been bought up and almost half in the first 24 hours.  After that, the list was made public via social media and in 24 hours, the list was completely taken.

Items included everyday items like toilet paper, toothpaste, towels, to yes, a large huggable teddy bear. 

To make sure the process was as socially-distanced as possible, curbside drop-off dates were arranged at the Bolingbrook Recreation & Aquatic Complex for those to drop off their gifts to be taken to the different facilities.  All the items were then compiled and delivered to the following facilities:

  • Heritage Woods (550 Kildeer Dr.)
  • Revere Court (351 Lily Cache Ln.)
  • Meadowbrook Manor (431 Remington Blvd.)

Even after all the items had been purchased, there was still a number of people that wanted to support. A list of generic, non-gendered items was available for people to purchase and those items were divided throughout the facilities so no one went empty handed.

“This is one of the most unique things I’ve been part of at the district because of the direct impact that we had,” said Chase. “For the community to have come together like that, it was such a cool thing. A really wonderful feeling that we made 127 peoples holiday season in just a few days.”

If you’d like to continue to support the seniors in the community, we encourage you to reach out to the Activity Directors directly. There is always a need for gifts for those that don’t get birthday gifts or things for other special occasions.