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Despite pandemic, annual event continues to ‘Shine a Light for Seniors’

With so many traditions put on hold this holiday season, Emporia Presbyterian Manor’s annual “Shine a Light for Seniors” event served as a beacon of hope for 2021.

Although held virtually this year, the event’s annual dedication ceremony took place on December 5 and featured the lighting of around 200 luminarias consisting of mason jars filled with small lights and hung from shepherd hooks along the sidewalk on the southwest corner of campus.

Staged each year by Crystal Stock, Emporia Presbyterian Manor marketing director and the community’s mission committee, the event has gone from a simple one-off idea to help celebrate the holidays to one of the community’s biggest and most-loved annual traditions.

“After helping grow the idea, we now have an amazing program that continues to grow each year and that we are all so proud of,” said Crystal.

The luminarias featured in this year’s display were purchased for $25 a piece by individuals looking to honor a family member. All proceeds go to PMMA’s Good Samaritan Program which provides funding to assist residents who outlive their financial resources by no fault of their own.

“I’ve always been amazed that in the number of years we’ve had this building not one person has been asked to move because they’ve outlived their resources. I think that’s an amazing thing, and I’m so proud of PMMA for having this fund,” said Ann Doudican, mission committee and Presbyterian Manor resident. “We advertise as being a Christian community, and what’s more Christian than taking care of other people?”

It’s a sentiment shared by many of Ann’s fellow committee members—some of whom have been contributors to the Good Samaritan Program for many years.

“I got started when (my wife’s) mother was out here,” said George Walters, mission committee member and resident. “It seemed to be a very good thing and it’s just continued.”

But at its core, the “Shine a Light for Seniors” event is really all about people.

“The program does not purely revolve around fund development, the true significance comes from the amazing opportunity we have to honor and memorialize our loved ones,” said Crystal. “I know I personally feel so blessed each year as I hang the personalized tags on the jars and prep them for set up knowing that their light will shine bright the night of our lighting ceremony.”

Together, those lights provide both happiness and hours of enjoyment to the community’s residents and staff each and every holiday season.

“Each year I just look out my window and enjoy the luminarias as they’re glowing in the night sky,” said Ann.

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