Last year, a client of WestMass Elder Care was so surprised to receive a Christmas gift, she thought there had been a mistake.
"Are you sure this is for me?" said the woman. "It's from Macy's."
"She said it was the most beautiful sweater she'd ever seen," said Priscilla Chalmers, executive director of WestMass Elder Care, who told the story of "Ms. S" and several other elderly folks who benefited last year from the Holyoke Community College annual Giving Tree Campaign.
"Thanks to the college for all your generosity," Chalmers said.
This year, members of the HCC community donated 389 gifts to four local nonprofit groups: WestMass Elder Care, the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Homework House.
On Thursday, the annual HCC Giving Tree wrapped up with a closing celebration and the presentation of gifts to representatives from the four agencies.
"We'll put these gifts to good use and create a brighter holiday for our veterans," said Paul Barabani, superintendent of the Soldiers' Home.
"There are families in Holyoke who probably wouldn't have any gifts if it wasn't for folks like you," said Christie Elman, educational coordinator for Homework House.
HCC staff member Karen Desjeans was honored for serving as the Giving Tree Campaign committee coordinator for the past seven years, during which time the number of gifts donated by the HCC community has doubled, HCC President Bill Messner said.
"This is an annual event we've been doing for a lot of years, and it gets better every year," Messner said. "Karen, we want to recognize the great management you've given to this during the past seven years."