All I want for Christmas… Heartbreaking ‘letters to Santa’ reveal simple wishes of ‘lonely and forgotten’ care home residents
A collection of heartbreaking “letters to Santa” have revealed the simple gifts lonely and forgotten about residents of care homes in Łόdz would most like to receive for Christmas.
Published on the Facebook Page “List do Mikołaja z DPSu” (A Letter to Santa from a Social Welfare Home), the letters were received by the network of Social Welfare Homes in Łόdź who organised the initiative to help those under their care.
The most common items found in the letters, which are often decorated with pictures surrounding the requests, include everyday items most people take for granted, such as shower gel, deodorant, a sponge, face cream, crisps and tea and coffee.
In one touching letter, 76-year-old pensioner Elżbieta writes “Christmas is coming and I can’t wait for your visit.
“This year I would really like to receive from you a knitted top in size XXXL, sweatpants in size XXXL/XXXXL and a floral deodorant.
“Thank you very much. I am 76 years old. ”
Another letter from a resident called Adam says his greatest wish is sugar and Ptasie Mleczko (a popular Polish chocolate), while resident Ala hopes for a simple 70cm silver chain she has dreamed of her whole life.
The organisers of the annual “Letter to Santa” initiative estimate that they will receive 1,800 letters this year from those under the care of Social Welfare Homes in and around Łόdź.
Robert Pawlak, one of the organisers of the initiative, said: “These people don’t have anyone other than their carers and neighbours from their floor.
“They don’t have big dreams, but those that they reveal in their letters to Santa really tug at the heartstrings…its enough to make anyone feel quite tearful.
“A grown person asking Santa for a tablet of chocolate, shower gel, crisps, gel sweet or coffee.”
The people who come under the care of Social Welfare Homes, do so for a number of reasons. Piotr Gruchot, who is 58-years old, has been a resident for six years.
He previously worked as a supplier and in a warehouse in the Elta and Femina plants in Łόdź, but fell on hard times came when he became ill with depression.
He has little close family left after both his mother and father passed away, only his brother, who visits him every two months.
In his letter to Santa, Piotr wrote: “I would love to get adidas trainers. Blue ones, because I like that colour.
“A year ago I got a small radio, a one that can be charged like a mobile. I can listen to music and sporting fixtures…I have no one else left, and this Santa is such that we always wait for him.
“If I got those adidas trainers I would be so happy.”
In a similar situation is 59-yer-old Sławomir Smulik, a resident of a Social Welfare Home for the past 15 years, who used to work in a sweet manufacturing plant, but was forced to take up disability benefits when he fell ill.
He wrote: “I act in the theatre here and I sing in a band. It makes me want to live. At home I never had a life like that…The people closest to me? They are Piotruś, Wojtuś, Grzesio.
“My friends from the Social Welfare Home. They are here with me. I have two older sisters. They live in England and they have never been here to visit me.”
The residents are not only older people, but also younger people who for various reasons, have no close relatives or friends to call on, like 32-year-old Żaneta, whose biggest passion is collecting soft toy cats and dogs, prams and dolls and whose biggest dream is for Santa to bring her a nice doll.
All letters received by the Łόdź Social Welfare Home are published on a dedicated webpage where people can go and help by choosing one of the letters and “becoming Santa” for that person.
Once a kind-hearted samaritan has bought the items from a letter, they put them in a parcel marked with the number of the letter and leave it at one of the dedicated collection points around Łόdź.
This year’s initiative has even more collection points than last year as more people are willing to help support the initiative. They can be found HERE.
People can also help by donating money via the dedicated collection page.