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Sumter community donates hundreds of gifts to seniors in 'Adopt a Grandparent' event

The drive-thru event brought gifts to Sumter seniors as a way to spread holiday joy since many have been apart from friends during COVID-19 pandemic

SUMTER, S.C. — People in the Sumter community came together Tuesday to make a difference in the lives of senior citizens this holiday, many separated from family and friends as a precaution due to the spread of COVID-19.

While the ‘elves’ were preparing the gifts, Elizabeth Spence, one of the seniors, was preparing for the day.

“It make me feel kind of special,” Spence said. “I got kind of dressed up for it, you know, for the occasion.”

For months she’s spent much of her time at home to guard against the virus.

“I just stay in and I keep my mask on and I stay my distance,” Spence said.

RELATED: Vaccine offers hope for Sumter seniors home for months due to COVID-19

Credit: Kayland Hagwood
Cars line-up outside for 'Adopt-a-Grandparent' event.

Tuesday, however, she joined the line of hundreds of Sumter Senior Services’ members to get a gift from locals hoping to spread holiday cheer.

Last week News19 introduced you to Foxy Rae Campbell. She organized the ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ event to spread joy to seniors like Spence.
The outpouring of community support, she says, was heartwarming.

“Oh my gosh, I’m just so amazed and so proud at how our Sumter community came together for our seniors,” Campbell said,“ and what I’m hearing with all the chatter is the seniors are excited about it too.”

Donations ranged from blankets to candy and even makeup and products for men, all given to make a difference.

“I find this is wonderful and I’m so glad to see so many people out enjoying it,” Catherine Baxter, another one of the seniors said.

Spence was too.

“It means a lot that, you know, they take time to give us these nice gifts and stuff. It’s just awesome and I enjoyed coming here,” Spence said.

Campbell said she hopes to host more events in the year ahead that make a difference.