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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

The Gift of Love brings special moments to local seniors

Jan 29, 2024 02:11PM ● By Jane Miller

When I was a kid, I used to wonder how Santa delivered presents all over the world. Surely there must be magic involved.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand that Santa has numerous helpers around the globe, and one of them works year-round on the Western Slope.

Brittney Bade is the founder of The Gift of Love, a non-profit that delivers care packages and provides friendly visits to seniors, not just at Christmas but also on occasions like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. 

Bade has a keen eye backed up by a giving heart to identify and meet the needs of others. Prior to founding The Gift of Love seven years ago, as a Mary Kay consultant, she started creating care packages for Hilltop’s Latimer House, offering support for victims of partner violence and sexual assault. 

“I knew several people who’d gone through the shelter and I had a friend that worked there,” said Bade. “Most of those women don’t have time to pack a bag and grab their makeup, and so I give them beauty supplies and things that make them feel good about themselves.”

Bade’s grandmother, a former nurse in a nursing home, shared with her that there was always some lonely resident who sat at the entrance door, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to welcome a visitor and engage in conversation. Bade has come across seniors with similar experiences while delivering the BEACON to senior living communities.

“I wanted to give back more and give them something else they can look forward to that makes them feel special,” said Bade.

She recounted the story of a nursing home resident who, overcome with emotion, tearfully shared that since her husband died five years ago, her time in the nursing home had been marked by solitude. When Bade presented her with a care package, she broke down in tears of appreciation.

Care packages for seniors typically include items such as puzzles, art supplies, snacks and hygiene products, along with seasonal surprises such as candy and flowers for Valentine’s Day. Sometimes, packages come at completely random times.

“I delivered a birthday gift for a lady who turned 100 recently,” said Bade. 

Senior communities seek support from The Gift of Love, not just for gifts but also for companionship.

“We do once-a-month visits with seniors,” said Bade. “Sometimes I’ll bring them snacks and we’ll just talk, and I listen to their stories.”

She hopes to establish a regular team of volunteers that can visit more seniors on a monthly basis.

Recently, Bade has collaborated with Food Bank of the Rockies to deliver groceries to homebound individuals. The Junior Service League, along with other volunteers and local families, aids in assembling care packages, and A Taste of Heaven Catering has consistently contributed hundreds of cookies over the years. In 2023, more than 7,000 care packages were delivered.

The Gift of Love extends these acts of generosity to homeless teens at The House and brain injury survivors in Hilltop’s Life Adjustment Program. 

Volunteers and donations are greatly appreciated. Bade actively seeks off-season items at big discounts, although they’re becoming harder to find. With the assistance of Hilltop, The Gift of Love received their 501-C3 status in February of 2023.

The Gift of Love is located at 2872 I-70 Business Loop in Grand Junction. For more information, visit The Gift of Love, Inc. on Facebook, go to The Gift of Love website or contact Bade directly at 970-270-9079. 

Bowling Fundraiser: April 9

Lace up your bowling shoes and sign up for the Gift of Love’s bowling fundraiser at 6 p.m., April 9 at Freeway Bowl. $25 per person includes two games and shoes, plus prize giveaways throughout the night! Sponsor a lane for $100. Bring your friends and family for a fantastic time, all while contributing to a meaningful cause.