At PioneerCare, we’re used to doing it big at Christmastime. While this year is different to say the least, we’re finding creative ways to celebrate safely. We’ve also been blessed with help from friends and neighbors in the greater community.
Kitchens are always a busy time at Christmas and it’s no different here. In addition to lots of special treats, dinners on Christmas Day are planned with ham dinners at Pioneer Cottages and PioneerCare Center. Tenants at Pioneer Pointe will be treated to a lutefisk and meatballs dinner on Christmas Eve, complete with romagrot and lefse, followed by a baked ham dinner on Christmas Day.
Chaplain Krehl Provides Spiritual Support
Chaplain Krehl Stringer joined PioneerCare last summer and dove right in to reinvent how spiritual support is done amid a pandemic. Now, at Christmas, he’s stepped up the frequency of visits with residents. He provides daily devotions over the care center’s intercom system, including an Advent or Christmas hymn during this season.
“I’ve begun using technology more,” Krehl says. “Utilizing a worship music playlist of Christmas hymns and carols I created on Spotify, then using a Bluetooth portable speaker to play in residents’ rooms.”
For those who are in isolation precautions preventing him from visiting in person, Krehl has given Christmas cards designed by a resident artist who resides in the Deer Wood household. For Pioneer Cottages residents, where he can’t be physically present due to current restrictions, Krehl has provided simplified liturgy, hymn texts, and prayers to Cottages staff to lead worship with residents in those living settings.
Chaplain Krehl has also led physically distanced, small group worship with tenants at Pioneer Pointe.
Especially in this time when social engagement is such a rich part of our holiday tradition, we’re working to connect residents socially while maintaining personal safety. For example, Activities Director Michelle Fitzgibbons says her staff have planned physically-distanced Christmas parties for each household on Wednesday, December 23. Residents will open gifts and enjoy special treats.
While visiting restrictions remain in place, Michele and other PioneerCare staff stand ready to connect residents and families via Facetime or other virtual visit platforms. Learn about the options here.
Two projects running parallel to each other brought close to 100 gift bags for PioneerCare Center residents late this week – enough for everyone to receive a special assortment of gifts this Christmas.
We won’t say what is in them, because we don’t want to spoil anyone’s surprise. We will say it was a group effort in both cases. Nikki and Jason Morris, along with their son, Landon, and daughter, Blake, represented a group from Bethel Church that worked together on their project. Jen Enstad Peterson and her husband, Tim, delivered gifts from what started as a family project and grew through their circle of friends and with donations from local businesses.
PioneerCare staff will distribute the gifts to residents on Christmas Eve.
On behalf of all residents, their families, and staff, PioneerCare thanks our many friends and neighbors in the community have made the Christmas season merrier within our living settings. From providing poinsettias, chocolates and other treats, and caroling, we’ve all been truly blessed. Merry Christmas to all!