Operation "Secret Senior" Aims To Brighten Holidays

Dec 19, 2013

Dillingham residents can help make Christmas more merry for area senior citizens, one secret gift at a time.

The tree for Operation Secret Senior. Each ornament has one gift idea.
Credit Connor Ito

"Operation Secret Senior" got underway this week in Dillingham. Thanks to one local educator, the new effort hopes to  Christmas gifts into the hands of all our friends at Grandma’s House and the Senior Center.  Connor Ito has more:

DILLINGHAM: As we all know, Christmas time is the season of giving. Around Dillingham, there are trees for the Christmas Angel Program, which brings gifts to children across the region. Now, at the Elementary School, there’s a new tree for a new program. Christy Cole, a kindergarten teacher at Dillingham Elementary School, aims to extend the holiday spirit to the senior citizens of Dillingham. She calls it Operation Secret Senior.

"Operation Secret Senior is an opportunity to remember the seniors of Dillingham,” Cole said in an interview. “There is a gift mentioned on every ornament on the tree, so when someone comes and picks an ornament off, they go and purchase that gift and bring it back. The gifts will be given to the seniors, who then keep the ornament.”

Operation Secret Senior will hopefully provide gifts to the senior citizens at Grandma's House and the Seniors Center. Cole was inspired by similar projects in larger cities, where trees were set up at assisted living homes with gift ideas for elders.

"I decided that I would find things that they would need, and we’d just make a collection of things they could use,” said Cole. “I felt that every senior in Dillingham deserves to have some sort of Christmas.”

Cole hopes this will be an annual tradition, and the program will eventually give gifts to every elder in the community. Operation Secret Senior will continue until December 19th. If you would like to pick up an ornament, the tree is located at the Dillingham Elementary School, outside the front office.

Credit Connor Ito