Non-profit raises gift donations for residents at assisted living facilities

Saint Nicholas Christmas Foundation
Saint Nicholas Christmas Foundation((KKCO/KJCT))
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 9:11 AM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A North Carolina nonprofit organization is expanding to Grand Junction to provide a little Christmas cheer to the elderly this holiday season.

Saint Nicholas Christmas Foundation is a nonprofit that raises monetary and gift donations for residents at assisted living facilities. The foundation began in 2014 and was founded by Nicholas Newell in North Carolina to give back to the community.

So, when his long-term friend Desiree Padilla, a Jiu-Jitsu instructor at Ascension Fitness Center, spoke to him about the project, she decided it was something Mesa County needed. “This is what I need to bring to Grand Junction. So, if I could take a part of what you do and bring it over here, it would be fantastic,” said Padilla.

According to Padilla, what sparked Newell’s idea for the nonprofit was his upbringing, which was always to give back if you have the chance. “He saw the need especially elderly people in assisted living that don’t have the monetary means or sometimes don’t have a family anymore that is alive to come to invite them,” said Padilla.

Her inspiration to bring the nonprofit to Mesa County was her grandfather, a very special figure in her life.

“He’s really what catapulted this for me. If you’ve never done anything like this or been in this position with a family in your life, you have no idea what that process looks like, and having gone through that process really made me realize this is a whole section of people that we tend to live is so fast we rush past them we rush past everything in life,” said Padilla.

Padilla says she’s in charge of contacting the assisted facilities, seeing who needs help, and asking them to fill out a Christmas list. The list is then posted on the website, and from there, it’s the job of the community to help with donations.

“They’re looking for a lot of creature comforts. Things that we take for granted on a daily basis. Sometimes just toothbrushes and floss. Sometimes it’s warm socks, warm pajamas. At that point in life, their money is going to be assisted living, and it’s the comforts that get put to the side,” said Padilla.

There will be drop-off locations at Ascension Fitness Center and Mountain Air Roasters. The Christmas lists will be posted on their site on Friday, Nov. 26.

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