"I am trembling," stated 81-year-old Celestina Comotti. A family she had never met before was peering at her through video call, wishing her well. In many countries, elders and nursing home residents have endured long months of isolation. In the Martino Zanchi Foundation nursing home, one of the first in Italy to shut its doors to visitors on Feb. 23, 2020, 43 residents are getting a holiday surprise from "grandchildren" they've never met. This year, 5,800 gifts were sent to residents in 228 nursing homes across Italy -- from "Santa's grandchildren." In its third year, the program matches nursing home residents with individuals ("grandchildren") who'd like to send a gift and connect with a senior citizen. Each recipient has a virtual visit with their volunteer grandchildren, who had sent gifts for them to unwrap during the call. Zanchi nursing home's activities coordinator, Michela Valle, said her goal wasn't so much to fulfill elderly residents' wishes for holiday gifts as "about creating ties." Caterina Damiano, a volunteer "grandchild," lost both her grandparents this year, "but I still want to be a grandchild," she told the Associated Press.

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