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Be a Santa for Seniors brightens holidays

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on December 10, 2019 with No Comments

by Lee Lyons

The holidays give us plenty of opportunities to play Santa. Family, friends, children, co-workers all appreciate thoughtful gifts and greetings.

But the appreciation and actual need of seniors without family or friends may be the most heart-wrenching and fulfilling opportunity for giving.

Home Instead Senior Care, in concert with senior housing communities, churches, and local programs, provides a wonderful opportunity for people to Be A Santa for Seniors who otherwise might not receive gifts or recognition during the holidays.  The Be A Santa program in Northwest Indiana operates out of the local Merrillville office of Home Instead, a provider of at-home care services for seniors and their families. The company has been coordinating the Santa gift-giving program for 16 years, according to owner Sandi Haywood, and plan to provide 400 gifts to needy seniors in Northwest Indiana this year.

“We provide for seniors throughout the area, from Hammond to Lowell, from St. John to Valparaiso,” she explains. “We get names of seniors from landlords, caregivers, and senior service groups. Some of them are so sad. Seniors ask for cat food, coats, and other needed items.”

And those items, as well as Christmas cards and decorations, are provided by people in the community who want to generously share the holidays with someone less fortunate.

“Some seniors have no family and are forgotten all year long. During the holiday season this is especially sad. Seniors who have received a card or gift through our program will still have the card sticking up on their doors the following year,” Haywood said.

The Merrillville office of Home Instead Senior Care begins planning for the Be A Santa for Seniors event back in July. The company “put up a tree” in November in a variety of locations, mostly residential communities but also, retail stores, banks, and other locations. Home Instead also begins collecting the names of seniors who need gifts and then makes paper ornaments with the gift requests to hang on the trees. Later, individuals and volunteers from groups like local churches, fraternal organizations, and even groups of friends, stop at one of the locations and pick up the ornaments and “take them shopping.”

When the gifts are purchased, they are brought back to any of the tree locations and dropped off for wrapping and distribution.

There is still time this year to pick up an ornament, buy a gift (or several) and return it to any one of the tree locations. There’s time left to brighten the face and lighten the heart of a senior citizen and show them that they are loved and not forgotten. There’s also plenty of time to plan for next year, involving a bingo group or office or scout troop or bridge club in the Be A Santa For Seniors program.

For additional information, go the Home Instead Be A Santa For Seniors website at https://www.beasantaforseniors.comor call the local office of Home Instead at 219-793-9023.

To pick up an ornament and fulfill a request from a senior, go to any of the following nearby locations. (Additional locations in Lowell, Schererville, and other towns are listed on the website.)

Avalon Springs Health Campus

  • 2400 Silhavy Rd., Valpo

Residences at Coffee Creek

  • 2300 Village Point, Chesterton

Symphony of Chesterton

  • 2775 Village Point, Chesterton

Rittenhouse Village

  • 6235 Sterling Creek Rd., Portage
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