Posted: December 20, 2022
With the holiday season in full swing, residents of Holly Creek Life Plan Community in Centennial have been leading the charge by putting their attitude of gratitude into action.
Neighbors are creating special opportunities to give this season — both together, and in their own unique ways, for the greater community outside the walls of Holly Creek.
In November, residents at Holly Creek rang in the season by giving the gift of Christmas. Around 20 community residents gathered to pack a hundred shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, and other necessities as part of Operation Christmas Child. The boxes will go to 10- to 14-year-old boys, the group with the greatest need. The Holly Creek neighbors donated funds for the items and turned out to personally label and fill the boxes.
“We have frisbees, backpacks, hats, crayons, pencils and yo-yos,” shared one project volunteer. It’s not hard to imagine the box’s recipients being delighted with the funny socks and light-up footballs, and it’s clear that the neighbors are thrilled to help spread Christmas cheer.
Earlier that month, the community also held a bazaar to raise funds for key programs. The community’s resident-led Needles and Threads group sold a selection of hand-crafted yarn pumpkins, potholders and knitted coasters at the bazaar to purchase more materials for the group, which knits sweaters, hoodies and blanket sets for newborns in need year-round. It has racked up an impressive 2,000 volunteer hours this year alone. Similarly, the Suites at Holly Creek sold herb seeds, herb-infused oil, and lavender and chamomile-based teas from herbs grown in their own garden to raise funds for Freedom Service Dogs to help veterans.
Many residents have found unique and individual ways to give as well. Resident Mill Erhardt is a great example, having been involved with the local Assistance League of Denver for nearly four decades, where she has volunteered in every program. Currently, she deals in Christmas at the league’s thrift shop.
“We work 12 months out of the year on Christmas,” she explained. “Our Christmas opens Nov. 3, and we always have a line to get in. A lot of what we offer are wreaths and tabletop items donated to us by people who no longer have a need for them or are getting rid of a grandparent’s belongings. Everything that comes in, we adjust, re-fluff and re-design them to give them a new life. And our ornament collection is absolutely massive — a wonderful resource.”
Proceeds from the thrift shop go to supporting the Assistance League’s other community initiatives across the city, including its art, music and ESL for parents programs and hospital lending HELP program, which provides healthcare-related items from walkers to bath benches. One of Erhardt’s neighbors at Holly Creek makes bags for the league’s Assault Survivor Kits provided to hospitals around the Metro area.
“I love what we do, and I love the people I meet,” said Erhardt. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to serve and share ideas—it’s something meaningful to talk about beyond ourselves.”
According to Holly Creek Volunteer Specialist Becky Stouder, the exceptional response to the box project, the tremendous turnout to help at the bazaar and individual volunteering all point to a deeper truth about the community.
“Our residents are kind, generous and proactive. When there is a need, they like to be part of the solution,” she explained. “They enjoy working together on common projects for the benefit of those in need — especially at the holidays.”