The seniors citizens at Memorial Woodland Village Nursing Center in Diamondhead on Tuesday received an early Christmas surprise. 

Chuck Clark, who is the store director at Rouses Markets, said when he moved back to the Diamondhead store, he wanted to get more involved with the facility. 

"I wanted to reach out and make sure everyone had a very Merry Christmas from the community," Clark said. 

Clark reached out to the community via social media and invited people to participate in "Sending Smiles to Seniors for Christmas." 

Clark said he coordinated with Woodland Village's activity director June Griggs to find out what the seniors might need this year. 

Soon, Clark said, he began receiving gifts from people in Diamondhead, Kiln, DeLisle, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Waveland, and from other areas throughout the state. 

Clark said that one of Woodland's volunteers, Carol Foose-Stealey, helped keep track of the items collected. 

"She came to the store several times, packed the items, and kept track of what we needed," he said. 

The items collected included: scarves, hats, blankets, sweaters, and crossword puzzles, to name a few, Clark said. 

Clark said he has known several people who come to the facility. 

"I know the need this place has and I wanted to help fulfill some of them," he said. "Thank you to the community for all the love and help they've done for this program." 

Griggs said there are 120 residents at Woodland Village. There were enough presents to hand out one to each resident on Tuesday. In addition, there were enough items collected that all the seniors will receive another gift on Christmas Day. 

"We actually have a Christmas party every year and the staff and family members provide the gifts," she said. "This year he (Clark) adopted us and the response was overwhelming from the community. It makes them (seniors) feel like they're special, like they're not forgotten."

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