The Suffield Green is decked out in elaborate holiday decoration. Christmas lights illuminate the night, but the holiday spirit here goes well beyond festive decorations.
Seeing the joy on his grandfather’s face, while visiting recently, 16-year-old Liam Wright had a thought. What would it be like to bring happiness to other senior citizens going through difficult times?
“It’s hard for them to get out and see family because of COVID and COVID restrictions,” he said.
In this season of giving, Wright and two Suffield High School classmates, Brooke Kaselouskas and Sophie Boulay, started a program called “Keep Smiling Seniors.”
The idea is to bring a little joy to the senior citizen community around Suffield.
Throughout the weekend Liam and his classmates have been delivering gift bags to senior communities in the area.
It’s become kind of a big deal. Liam has had custom lettering put on his family van. He turned his parent's garage into a private workshop to fill up the bags. He also started a website to help seniors in need connect with him.
Together, the three Suffield High School students have assembled gift baskets and made over 100 Secret Santa deliveries to seniors around town.
“It was really a very nice surprise. It brought a big smile to both my wife and I,” said recipient Larry Magoon.
Amidst the pandemic, many senior citizens have found themselves isolated. This is something the Suffield trio is hoping to alleviate.
“It’s always nice to see somebody even if it’s from a distance, you can wave or say hello,” said Bernadette Graham, who received a gift basket today.
If you're wondering what’s in it for Liam and his classmates, the answer is quite simple.
“Just seeing the seniors smile and how happy they are when I get to the door,” said Wright.
“Yeah, I think I was probably smiling from ear to ear,” said Nancy Lisenko.
Lisenko said she saw the three standing in the rain Saturday afternoon ready to give her a thoughtful Hanukkah gift.
“When you get a knock on the door like that, with three smiling faces, with a gift for you it just makes you feel so good inside,” she said.
Although this program has begun around the holidays, Wright said his plans for this program are much larger than that. He said he hopes to keep it going year-round.
As for items inside the bags, he’s relying on donations.