Home Instead Senior Care is teaming up with non-profit agencies, area retailers, volunteers and members of the community to sponsor Be a Santa to a Senior, a program that collects, wraps and delivers gifts to lonely and financially challenged seniors in need. Home Instead Senior Care is the world’s largest provider of non-medical, in-home care and companionship services for older adults.
Three locations in Statesboro — Nevil Tire, the Clubhouse Family Entertainment Center and University Animal Hospital — currently display Christmas trees that feature paper ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests.
Holiday shoppers can pick ornaments from a tree, buy the items listed and return them to the location at which they selected the senior no later than Dec. 15. Shoppers can place the items in a holiday gift bag or use a store bag, but should be sure to tape the identifying ornament to the bag.
More than 200 names hang on the trees, waiting to be chosen.
“There are so many seniors right here in Bulloch County that have nothing and no one,” said Allison Waters Mager, general manager of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Statesboro. “Through this program, we are able to show them that they are valuable members of our community and that people still care.
“We’ve seen firsthand how much this program means to local seniors. Without it, there would be seniors for whom the holidays would pass without even a visit.”
Kim Martin, community service representative for Home Instead in Statesboro, remembers just such a resident that she and Mager have visited for the past three years of the program.
“Someone else turned in his name; he didn’t know we were coming,” Martin said. “He was so surprised. He has no family here; no one came to see him. He started to cry when he saw the gifts. He hugged us and was so overjoyed that someone remembered him.
“The next year, he showed us the things we’d brought him from last year and said, ‘Thank you for coming again this year.’”
Martin continued, “And last year, he was in his yard when we were delivering to his neighbor. We could see him looking at us, and when we walked over to his house, he said, ‘I thought y’all had forgotten about me this year.’”
Be a Santa to a Senior strives to make sure no senior is forgotten on Christmas.
In addition to the specific gift requests or needs found on the paper ornaments, donations of men’s toiletry items and men’s socks are especially needed.
Toiletries, socks, holiday gift bags and wrapping paper or Christmas cards can be dropped off directly at the Home Instead office at 407 Zetterower Ave., Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (912) 764-3999.