Program encourages 'Santas' to reach out to elderly shut-ins during holidays

POSTED: Saturday, December 15, 2012 - 12:00pm

UPDATED: Saturday, December 15, 2012 - 12:04pm

With so many older adults in our area living alone, and in poverty, a fairly new holiday program is making sure they still have a happy holiday.

"Be a Santa to a Senior" will help match the seniors of central Ohio, with those more fortunate members of the community.

Alicia West lives alone at her home in Hilliard with her dog, Star.

"Star is my little service dog. She's a seizure alert dog and a diabetes dog and she is also a wonderful companion and she adds so much to my life."

This holiday season, there are a few things West is missing. She can't afford to heat her home or do many chores around the house, so she depends on a program called "Be a Santa to a Senior."

Marilyn Parker works for Home Instead Senior Care, the group that started the program.

"Our goal is to find people that might be lonely or without means during the holiday and bring a little cheer," says Parker.

West is among 700 seniors in central Ohio with their names on special trees. Each senior put their needs or wishes on paper ornaments.

"Some of the gifts, the things they ask for, like underwear or a warm throw, a hat or a sweater, scarf," says Parker. "You know they aren't frivolous things- they're things that people really will use and need."

It's really simple: pick a name, buy the gift, and bring it back to that same store. Volunteers will then sort them, wrap them, and deliver them.

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