The parish's "Giving Tree" program made the holidays brighter for many.

By Rosemary Lewallen     1/10/2020

St. Irenaeus Health Ministry hosted Giving Tree parties at five long-term care facilities during the second week of December. Each resident, plus homebound parishioners, received a Christmas gift. Giving Tree parties were held at Harvest Retirement, Sunrise La Palma, Karlton Residential Center, Health Care Center Orange County and Anaheim Terrace Care Center, complete with Santa, caroling and gifts donated by St. Irenaeus parishioners. There were 450 bags of gifts distributed in total. Each bag was hand-decorated by St. Irenaeus’ students. 

Carolers led by members of the St. Irenaeus Parish Choir sang traditional carols and invited residents to sing along. On Dec. 10 the 6th grade class of St. Irenaeus School came to the party at Sunrise La Palma. They joined in singing and assisted Santa in giving out gifts with the guidance of their teachers, Mrs. Stinnett and Miss Castaneda. The seniors loved seeing the children and joining in the festive holiday music.

 Giving Tree parties are an annual outreach project by St. Irenaeus Health Ministry that require much time, energy and talent of many volunteers as well as contributions of gifts by St. Irenaeus’ parishioners. Residents at long-term care facilities appreciate the generosity and the personal care shown by our volunteers. Many residents may not have friends or family members who can visit them. The Giving Tree parties let long-term care residents know that they are loved and valued. Special thanks go to Monica Kovach (Health Ministry Facilitator), Carol Reed (Asst. Facilitator), Grace Francis (Chair of Care Facilities Ministry), Jan Williams (Asst. Chair of Care Facilities Ministry), all members of the Health Ministry Board and members of the St. Irenaeus Parish Choir, who led the caroling. Also, thanks to Edna Ethington and Terry Arenz for accompanying us on the ukulele. This outreach project is the personification of what Christmas is all about!