Last year’s Santa’s Grandchildren project truly remarkable by meeting the lonely seniors face to face
The sixth year of Ježíškova vnoučata (Santa’s Grandchildren) project granted nearly 15,000 wishes to seniors all across the Czech Republic in just two months. Unlike the last two years, affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, donors were once again able to meet seniors and forge new friendships. In addition, monetary gifts worth a total of CZK 3.3 million were collected for the Czech Radio Foundation charity project and will be used to help seniors throughout the year.
“Santa’s Grandchildren has become a very successful Czech Radio and Czech Radio Foundation project. For the sixth time in a row, donors fulfilled seniors’ wishes and managed to make 15,000 wishes come true in just two months. What goes beyond this incredible figure is a number of new friendships made between seniors and Santa’s Grandchildren. I am delighted to see that people haven’t stopped thinking of lonely seniors even in these hard times, which only deepens the meaning of this charity collection,” says René Zavoral, Director General of Czech Radio.
623 senior homes, nursing facilities and other organisations caring for the elderly got involved in the sixth year of Santa’s Grandchildren project by putting their wishes on the list. The donors have granted nearly 15,000 wishes including 900 experiences from 14 November 2022 until today. “The staff in the facilities, however, informed us that some wishes are not even listed because Santa’s Grandchildren from previous years fulfil those straight away, and what once started with a gift, turned strangers to close friends,” says Gabriela Drastichová, Director of the Czech Radio Foundation with enthusiasm over the growing interest in face-to-face encounters.
The donors can contribute to the public collection within the Santa’s Grandchildren project throughout the whole year. Costly wishes that remain unfulfilled after the New Year will be covered from the monetary gifts collected by Santa’s Grandchildren. There are 89 such wishes this year. From November 2022 to this year’s Three Kings Day donors contributed CZK 3.3 million to the charity collection. After granting the costly wishes, the Czech Radio Foundation will fund and provide for year-round joy for seniors and support workers who care for the elderly.
Seniors had mostly modest wishes, but there was also desire to fulfil their life-long dreams
The most frequent wishes typically include magazine subscriptions, warm blankets, some goodies to eat, trips to enjoy either culture, sightseeing, nature or their hometowns. This year, however, there was no shortage of daring wishes such as a parachute jump, strip show for a senior home with special regime or a flight with an ultralight aircraft.
Individual wishes are also popular and often result in making the entire senior home happy. These are especially gifts of musical instruments, which then in the hands of a senior cheer up clients, staff as well as visitors. Likewise, visits of artists usually evoke a positive response. The singer Marek Ztracený made the entire senior home in Nové Strašecí sing and turned his gig with a guitar into a great success.
When fulfilling the wishes, generous donors did not forget about the staff at the facilities either. They often packed in something delicious, coffee, sweets or a nice message for the caregivers. For instance, nine masseurs came to the Alzheimer home in Darkov. Apart from missus Liduška who initially expressed her wish for a massage, they gave massages to all the clients and staff. It was primarily the staff whom the Czech Radio Foundation focused on last year. Last year’s Santa’s Grandchildren donors made it possible for ten providers of residential care services for seniors to enrol in the D.O.M.A programme of the MILA organisation. Czech Radio also helped to launch a podcast series I burn at the end of last year. The podcast is hosted by Simona Bagarová, the founder of MILA, who does her best to provide the best care of both seniors and carers. The podcast series I burn is available at https://www.mujrozhlas.cz/horim
Santa’s Grandchildren partners get involved with the project by selfless help again this year
15,000 wishes materialized in 1,960 packages weighing a total of 4,500 kg, DHL Express couriers drove 7,200 km to deliver the gifts from donors to seniors. T-Mobile Company donated 150 LCD televisions to senior homes and to cap it all, volunteers visited facilities free of charge and helped install televisions, tablets or telephones donated by Santa’s Grandchildren. Supermarket chain Kaufland offered its premises for shooting a pre-Christmas spot and committed to support a public Santa’s Grandchildren charity collection throughout the year. In addition to that, Kaufland promised to organise a traditional pork feast to meet the wish of seniors in Jevišovka. Škoda Auto has once again become a Santa’s Grandchild; they invited seniors to the National Theatre to see The Bartred Bride (Prodaná nevěsta) and took a group of seniors from across the Czech Republic to visit the Škoda Museum and its repository. Czech Radio itself got involved in fulfilling seniors’ wishes. Czech Radio Dvojka made it possible for seniors from Prague to take part in live broadcast of the popular programme Tobogan hosted by Aleš Cibulka.
Apart from nursing facilities, Santa’s Grandchildren will visit lonely seniors directly in their homes
In the upcoming year of Santa’s Grandchildren project, the Czech Radio Foundation strives to aim at seniors who suffer the most intense loneliness because they live without kind attention and care of their loved ones. Santa’s Grandchildren will visit lonely people at home and share their interesting stories with listeners of Czech Radio.
Santa’s Grandchildren project was promoted on all Czech Radio stations as well as on social networks Facebook and Instagram with an official hashtag #jeziskovavnoucata, and with individual stories from the last year available for listening.
More information on the project at www.jeziskovavnoucata.cz