NBC26 Cares: Holiday Surprise
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
GRAND CHUTE – A group often forgotten during the holidays received a special Christmas surprise this year at their front door.
The holidays can be a lonely time for the elderly and those with physical and mental illness. That’s why a non-profit agency in the Appleton area set out to spread some Christmas cheer. Dawn Ristow, CEO and President of Compassionate Home Health Care, says it’s like getting to play Santa Claus. Compassionate Home Health Care has been collecting donated items from the community to pack holiday gift bags for those they serve: people with disabilities and the elderly who are struggling to scrape by on a limited income.
“We send caregivers into their home, sometimes they don’t even have a wash rag for us to clean dishes up. So we thought this would be a really great way for us to give back to those individuals in our community that kind of get swept under the table,” Ristow says.
The gift bags include personal care items like shampoo and conditioner, cleaning supplies, and even a treat like some fresh bread. Dawn and her team packed up the goodies and went door-to-door to make the surprise deliveries.
The first stop was at Chelsea Gerow’s house. The two big bags with her name on it warmed her heart this holiday season. “I was very surprised. I was very surprised and just very shocked and just overwhelmed by their generosity,” Chelsea said.
Chelsea has Cerebral Palsy and she relies on the agency’s nurses to assist with her personal care needs at home, college, and work. But it’s more than just the physical help. “They come and visit just companionship you know, somebody to hang out with, somebody to talk to because they’re really my company throughout the day.”
It’s that close bond that inspired Ristow to make a difference this holiday season. “This is our way of letting them know that there are people out there who do care and we want to help them with whatever we can do to make their day just a little bit better.”
Chelsea says Compassionate Home Health Care has helped her gain her independence. She just graduated from Fox Valley Tech with a degree in Business and Marketing.