By JEN CARDINES
The main dining hall in the Summit at Plantsville was transformed into a Christmas store for the annual Shops at Apple Town Villa event.
Over the last decade, the Summit has provided its residents with a shopping experience like no other. Tables lined the room, filled with a multitude of offerings for the shoppers to choose from. All of the items came from community-wide donations to support the seniors living at the Summit.
Barbara Blau, therapeutic recreation director, coordinates this annual event with the help of fellow staff members and volunteers.
“The community has always been good, but this year was different,” she said. “They just embraced us and donated so much.”
The new and gently used items are all free of cost to the residents, and volunteers work a gift-wrapping station to complete the experience. Many seniors that live in the Summit cannot leave the facility, but with this event they are able to pick out gifts for their loved ones.
People were also available to support the seniors who have impaired mobility, helping them navigate the Christmas store.
“They start talking about it months in advance,” Blau said. “Residents that don’t usually leave their rooms come out for this.”
The residents aren’t the only ones who got excited about the shopping experience. Denise Roy was on site to volunteer after reading a post in a local Facebook group. She took an extended lunch break from work to help with the event, eager to jump on board.
At the end of the day, whatever doesn’t get picked by the shoppers goes to Southington Social Services for donation.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Blau said.