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Santa's 'grandchildren' spread joy in Italian nursing homes


Rob Thompson

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Rob Thompson

Santa's 'grandchildren' spread joy in Italian nursing homes

Source. The Independent 24 Dec 2020

The holiday spirit has reached a nursing home in northern Italy that was one of the country's first to shut its doors to visitors when the coronavirus emerged nearby in late February.

Emotions are running high this holiday season at the Martino Zanchi Foundation nursing home in northern Italy near Bergamo after months of near-total isolation for its residents

Long-time resident Celestina Comotti was disbelieving as a staff member read aloud a Christmas greeting from a family peering at her expectantly over a video call.

“Damn!’’ Comotti exclaimed when nursing home staff confirmed that her well-wishers - 9-year-old Simon, his sister Marta and mother Alessia - were people she had never met before. The 81-year-old woman dissolved into tears.

"I am trembling,” she said, adjusting her eyeglasses. 

The bearers of glad tidings were the so-called “grandchildren of Santa Claus,” people who answered a charity’s call to spread cheer to elderly nursing home residents, many of whom live far from their families or don’t have any family members left.

The “Santa’s grandchildren” program is in its third year. Last year, it matched 2,550 “grandchildren” with residents of 91 nursing homes This year, 5,800 gifts were dispatched to 228 nursing homes around the country -- an outpouring that is, in part, a reaction to the devastating toll that the coronavirus has had on the elderly, comprising the majority of Italy’s confirmed 70,000 COVID-19 dead.

Full story: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/santas-grandchildren-spread-joy-in-italian-nursing-homes-italy-isolation-santa-nursing-home-nursing-homes-b1778523.html

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