"I am deeply touched by the generosity of the people in the area!" says Elisabeth Schindler, head of activation and daily living at the Wieden retirement home in Buchs. She gives a voice to residents who can no longer express themselves well because of their age. Elisabeth and her team colleagues collected all the wishes of the 100 residents on behalf of the Gass in Buchs. All of them were fulfilled. "At a time when all festivities are cancelled and social contacts are restricted, this action has brought the necessary portion of joy and Christmas spirit into our house!"
You can hear the gratitude in Elisabeth Schindler's voice through the phone: "People not simply fulfilled the wishes, but also took real care in picking out the gifts and wrapping them. Beautiful packets arrived with exclusive finishes and personal letters. "The shining faces of the residents when they opened their gifts - priceless!" One woman, she said, put on her new hat and only took it off when she went to sleep. Another resident, about a hundred years old, wanted a large, fresh nut croissant. Elisabeth laughs: "The nut croissant she got was really huge. I'm sure she couldn't eat the whole one with her coffee!"
However, the most beautiful story was the one of a woman from Austria who has no relatives in Switzerland. As luck would have it, she received a beautiful bouquet of flowers shortly after her 90th birthday. "I had goose bumps," says the head of activation and daily living at the Wieden retirement home. The resident was completely perplexed and had to sit down at first when she saw the surprise. Then she got a grin a mile wide. "Heart-warming", sighs Elisabeth Schindler full of hope, "this gift campaign has not only brought great joy to the residents, but also to us, the staff. A big thank you at this point to the organiser Giannina from the Gass in Buchs".
Giannina Saxer, event manager of the Gass in Buchs, is surprised herself that the wish tree campaign went so well: "To be honest, I expected that we would have to fulfil half of the wishes ourselves in the end. I could hardly believe my eyes when after less than 48 hours the first 150 pieces of paper were already gone from the tree! Giannina wrote to other organisations in the region and collected more wishes from people in need. In this way, a total of 350 wishes could be fulfilled. As Giannina points out, however, this was not the only goal. "We also wanted to make sure that people in the homes are not forgotten at Christmas and to promote the integration of people with disabilities.
Finally, the wish tree campaign also had a learning effect for the Gass event manager herself. "When I saw the wishes, I realised that everyday things like a good-smelling hand cream are not something everyone takes for granted. This made me rethink my consumption" Giannina is sure: the campaign will be repeated next year. "Even though I was not allowed to hand over any gifts personally because of Corona, the joy of the nursing staff was clearly noticeable and very motivating!"
"The idea of this wishing tree was absolutely brilliant," says Silvana Conteh, a qualified social worker. She works as an employment group leader at Lukashaus in Grabs, a residential and work facility for people with disabilities. She, too, speaks of pure goose bumps when she heard that the wishes were taken from the tree within 48 hours. The residents' wish list included a cuddly toy, a Lego fire truck and a hit CD. She said she was particularly touched by the story of a young man who wanted a roast duck for Christmas. "I thought no one would have time to cook for someone they didn't know at Christmas - I was wrong!" smiles Silvana Conteh promisingly. But she doesn't want to reveal more. It should remain a surprise. "The fact is: this action is a wonderful experience for everyone involved!