Be a Santa to a Senior

Be a Santa to a Senior

The Foundation for the Betterment of Seniors is partnering with Meals on Wheels providers, local retailers and other agencies to make this Christmas special for 3,000 local seniors through the 2016 “Be a Santa to a Senior” Campaign.

Home Instead Senior Care kicked off the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program in 2003. Since then, with the help of 60,000 volunteers, more than 1.2 million gifts have been distributed through the program to 700,000 seniors across the United States.

Jerald Stewart, community liaison for event sponsor Home Instead Senior Care, said seniors are sometimes overlooked during the holidays and may feel forgotten. According to him, the gifts distributed to chosen individuals bring them holiday cheer and let them know they are valued.

“For some seniors, the gifts they receive through the program are the only gifts they will receive this Christmas,” asserted Stewart. “When we were dropping off his gift, one man told me it was the only present he’d gotten in years.”

The nonprofit foundation identifies participants with the help of local senior service providers like Meals on Wheels. Christmas trees currently at more than 100 stores in the area display paper ornaments with a senior’s name and requested gifts listed.

Generally, said Stewart, the gifts requested are items like blankets, house shoes, robes or even gift cards to local restaurants. Some requests are a little different.

“A 75-year-old man once requested a bicycle, which we thought was an odd request from a man of that age, but he said it was the only transportation he would have to get back and forth to the small store close to his house,” Stewart recalled.

“There are a lot of locations participating,” he said. “We’re encouraging people to come by and take an ornament with a gift request on it from one of the trees at various retailers around Southeast Texas to give a gift to a senior.”

Stewart said several Market Basket grocery stores are participating, along with area CVS and Walgreens stores, M&D Hardware in Vidor, Tina’s Heavenly Touch in Beaumont, Wal-Mart in Orange and Vidor and numerous other Southeast Texas businesses. Additional locations and information may be found at the program’s website,, or call (409) 892-4455.