Since the spring, Cochranites thoughts have turned to our seniors, the demographic group most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been no different during the Yuletide.

Among them is the tremendous support that has been given to a two-week bottle collection aimed at providing gift cards from local businesses for seniors left alone in isolation during the Yuletide season.

That drive wrapped up Saturday and to date has raised an astounding $2,251.25 from bottles and cash donations. So far, the funds have been used to purchase gift cards from 61 local businesses, most in $30 denominations. As well, seven of these businesses donated additional gift cards.

Organizer Paul Singh says he had hoped to raise $1,000 when embarking on the bottle drive and collecting more than double that amount is a testament to the people of Cochrane.

"It's great to see how the community comes together in a time of need," says Singh.

Six years ago, Singh came here knowing no one and was greeted with open arms.

"Cochrane is my family now. I think if you're alone, this town has this big heart that regardless of what ethnic background, what nationality, or where you come from, you are accepted here."

He appreciates the many volunteers who stepped up to help, especially in light of his back injury, and to the numerous residents who contributed bottles and cash.

"I give all the credit to the volunteers who have helped and all the people who contributed."

Singh says there remains $401.25 to purchase additional gift cards, and he welcomes input from residents.

You can reach him at his Facebook page Singh Palwinder or by texting 403-608-1615.