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Clinton Township

December 11, 2013

Holiday Hope for seniors highlights spirit of the season

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American House staffer Ray Claussen portrays Santa Claus and resident Elaine Myer portrays Mrs. Claus as they greet resident Irene Warzywak during the commencement for the Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign on Dec. 5.
An angel tree ornament hangs on the tree in the lobby of the American House Senior Living Communities location in Clinton Township. Every location had a similar ceremony to help kick off the campaign and holidays.
 

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — In the season of giving, many need a helping hand. Sometimes, that hand is extended from someone with empathy.

American House Senior Living Communities strive to be at the forefront of the holiday giving train, promoting its annual Holiday Hope for Seniors campaign. The purpose is for senior citizens in each community to raise funds so low-income seniors can receive personal items.

It started five years ago and has grown into something considerable, with each of the 31 locations being involved. At its inception, there were about 200 seniors who received gifts. Last year, the number climbed to a little more than 700. The 2013 holiday season is expected to contribute smiles to 800-plus seniors.

And it’s all based on donations from nonprofit organizations that help identify individuals and their monetary funds.

“Residents, employees, vendors, affiliates donate money and buy paper ornaments that are hung on trees in the communities,” said Kevin Kieninger, the director of communications for American House’s corporate division. “From there, money is pulled over, and small personal items — soap, scarves, hats, gloves, shampoo, etc. — are purchased, wrapped in gift bags and given to low-income senior citizens around the area.”

The season kicked off with its annual tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 5.

“We had our tree trimming party the other day, had music and people danced, did 12 days of Christmas by group. … That is special. We have the most beautiful 12-foot tree in our atrium area,” said Carol Huck, an American House resident at the Roseville location. “It’s just so festive (to) sit when the fireplace is on and enjoy the companionship.”

Huck has been a resident for 15 years and views the Holiday Hope campaign as a special time of year for all involved.

“I’m very excited about it,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful people get together. Some of the seniors like to have a lot of companionship, and we enjoy a lot of activities here.”

The tree-lighting ceremony was a tie-in to the holiday season and a focal point where people could tangibly see that the holidays started and wanted to make an impact.

“Families gather together, and everyone is coming into the community to see Mom and Dad,” Kieninger said. “It impacts people’s lives and does good.”

“I see somebody in need, I’m there,” Huck said. “What I have done is make some ceramic ornaments at the American House craft show that raises money for seniors in need. They will handpick an ornament from the tree.”