Many people in our society are lonely and disconnected, particularly some of our senior citizens, who have lost a spouse, are sick or feel unable to travel and socialise on their own. Aware of these increasing needs, a group of retired, energetic seniors formed The Evergreens to serve the local community.
The Evergreens form an integral part of Operation Hope – promoting social inclusion and connectedness, which creates a sense of belonging and helps break social isolation. People can meet new friends, reacquaint with old friends and contribute your gift or talent to the community.
This group of enthusiastic people also support Operation Hope’s work by raising awareness of the poor, organising fundraisers, knitting throw rugs for the elderly in local nursing homes, donating soft toys for hospitals in Sri Lanka and knitting beanies for children in Swaziland.
With a high value on relationship and participation, the Evergreens gather together to have fun and socialise. They go on many day and short term trips using their senior rail passes. Laughter, home made goodies (like milk toffee) and curries are always on the agenda. In addition to all this the Evergreens regularly gather together for lunches, morning melodies and many other events.
This ministry important to Operation Hope as well as those who attend. Many have described this ministry as life changing.
Here are just a few comments from some of those who have been impacted:
Ann – “I am so thrilled to be involved. I have no partner and coming to the Evergreen events gives me a way of making new friends, it is something I really look forward to. I sometimes feel lonely where I live and it is great to be able to call others when I feel down. There is a whole new atmosphere and I have told them ʻdonʼt stopʼ.”
Rocky – “The main impact for me and my wife has been the sense of belonging and the times of fellowship we have. It is great to belong to a group that does things together. Of course the fun and enjoyment is a great part of it too.”
Ishbel– “I believe we are built for intimacy and I love company, so the functions that are organised help me to meet new people. We even help each other, giving advice on different medical treatments etc. I feel that nothing is too great for them to do for us, always concerned about us. Being with everyone is a real inspiration. I can see God at work.”