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Stuff love and caring in senior's stocking

Is that stocking for Mom and Dad, or Grandpa and Grandma, still hanging there empty?

Finding appropriate gifts for senior members on your Christmas list can be frustrating, so Community Care for Seniors has assembled a selection of items to appeal to all tastes.

The prices are right, and the items are geared to seniors' needs and or interests.

Holidays and food go together, so consider a stocking stuffer called Friendship Soup. It's an attractively bottled assortment of beans and lentils, complete with a recipe for a hearty, healthy soup, just the ticket for cold-weather appetites. Even if the soup-making spirit is lacking, this versatile bottled beauty can be a purely decorative conversation piece. It's only $6 and is available at Community Care's office in The Armoury, 206 Main St. in Picton. Still in the food category, but for the more enthusiastic cook, or even the novice, is the association's 25th Anniversary Cookbook. The 149 pages of well-loved recipes, all contributed by Community Care volunteers, is a 2002 publication bringing together the county's favorite dishes from apple-filled oatmeal cookies to zucchini bread.

Community Care also provides a new line of no-fuss, no-muss complete frozen meals. The 25 different combinations have been developed with the nutritional needs of seniors in mind, and can be heated either in a conventional oven or a microwave. These special frozen Meals on Wheels meals are also available for people on special diets - those who need diabetic menus or gluten-fee diets, or who require minced or pureed foods. Gift certificates and information sheets detailing the menus are available at the Community Care office. A $20 gift certificate would purchase five entrees at $4 each. Desserts and soups are also available for $1.50 each.

Community Care has other tantalizing non-edible suggestions for that senior parent or grandparent. A Christmas raffle, to be drawn Dec.20, offers a musical decorated table tree for the festive season as first prize. Second prize is a signed, limited edition print, Christmas Party, by Frank Panabaker. Third prize in the draw is an outdoor projector, complete with six color and 14 black and white images. Tickets are $1 each or 3 for $2, and are for sale at both The Armoury and Community Care's Thrift Shop, 281 Main Street in Picton.

There's more. A silent auction of six full-size Christmas trees closes at 3 p.m. on Dec. 6. Until then, the trees may be viewed in the window of the Thrift Shop. Still stuck for a gift? A gift certificate from Community Care may be used for the association's various programs, such as seniors' dinners held monthly at several county locations, foot-care clinics or Meals on Wheels. bus trips, a popular program of day trips around Ontario, may also be purchased with gift certificates. That stocking should be full by now.

Funds raised through Community Care's raffles, draws and its cookbook sales are fund-raising projects to help the association fulfil its mandate to assist older adults to live in a home environment in reasonable independence. Debbie Moynes, Executive Director