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Victoria seniors and students work together for Habitat for Humanity

Local seniors and students spread holiday spirit, building an intergenerational gingerbread village

Seniors and students served up the holiday spirit by building a gingerbread village together to benefit Habitat for Humanity.

The village is currently on display in the lobby of Rivera Parkwood Place Retirement Community, where Grade 2 students from Oaklands Elementary School helped decorate and devour gingerbread houses and cookies.

“I love when the students come to visit,” said Shirley Lou Hansen, who lives at Parkwood Place. “Building a village together, especially one that’s intergenerational, really shows how much better we are all together. I feel that too. And working together to raise awareness for such a great cause is a real privilege – what a wonderful way to give back. I’m really proud to participate.”

Cheryl Chalifour, executive director of Rivera Parkwood Place, said the event was a great time for the seniors, who loved interacting with the children.

“The seniors were rejuvenated and energized by the youth, the children love both decorating the house and then each kid (young and old) were decorating and eating their very own gingerbread man,” Chalifour said.

The kids also received colouring sheets for Habitat for Humanity’s Gingerbread Showcase colouring contest, which runs until Jan. 2, 2023. Those who want to participate can simply print a sheet off and mail it to the Parkside Hotel and Spa, which is hosting the showcase.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Victoria’s Habitat for Humanity sparks magic with annual Gingerbread Showcase

“All the kids also learned about helping others as they added to our donation jar in the lobby to support Habitat,” Chalifour said.

Rivera is the presenting sponsor for the 2022 Gingerbread Showcase at the Parkside Hotel and Chalifour said the village building at the retirement community supports that fundraiser and encourages others to donate as well.

“Our residents and students are quite enthusiastic and would like to help inspire others to help too.”

Eleanor Cole, another resident who participated in the village building said working to raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity is not only a worth-while endeavour, but a fun one as well.

“We want to have some fun but also raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity,” Cole said. “We believe in their mission ‘A world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.’ And we hope our contribution helps a little bit this holiday season.”


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Hollie Ferguson

About the Author: Hollie Ferguson

Hollie moved to Victoria from Virginia in September 2022 with her partner Zachary and their two pups, Theodore and Bibi.
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