“Be a Santa to a Senior” is now underway in the Golden Triangle with trees set up in nearly 100 locations across Southeast Texas. The purpose of the program is to bring in gifts that will give good tidings and cheer to seniors who might otherwise go without this holiday season.
Jerald Stewart, Home Instead Senior Care’s community service representative, said the event is possible through the collaboration of a number of local organizations including event sponsor Home Instead, the Meals on Wheels program, local assisted/independent living facilities and businesses, and their hope is to bring in enough gifts for 5,000 seniors in the immediate area.
“We encouraged our Nutrition Services center in Beaumont, the Orange Meals on Wheels program, all the nursing homes to turn in names,” said Stewart. “We’ve been putting all the names that have been turned in on trees in 95 locations in Southeast Texas.”
Stewart said donating to a senior who may otherwise go without this Christmas is as easy as picking a nametag from a tree, buying a gift for that senior, and returning the gift with the tag to the store it was purchased from or Home Instead Senior Care on 11th Street in Beaumont. The tags come with gift recommendations that each senior would like and other gift ideas include lotions, skin care products, blankets, cheerful decorations, sugar-free goodies, scarves and slippers.
The purpose of the venture is to brighten the spirits of seniors across Chambers, Hardin, Jefferson and Orange counties that may be spending the holidays alone this year. “There’s a lot of seniors that don’t get a lot of gifts for Christmas,” said Stewart. “Last year, we had a couple folks indicate that it was the first gift they received in several years. They may have family, but they live in other states or too far away to see them, so they may spend it alone.’
Home Instead would like donated gifts to come pre-wrapped if possible, but Stewart said they’re understanding not everyone will have the time to do so.
“We’ll be hosting wrapping parties Dec. 12 and 19 at the Nutrition Services center,” he said. “And also Dec. 17 at Beaumont Bone and Joint.”
Gifts should be turned in by Dec. 20, but any late comers will make it to their final destinations, Stewart said.
Also on Dec. 20 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., a gift drive will be held at Bronze Body on Phelan with refreshments available for donors.
Participating locations for this year’s Be a Santa to a Senior program in Beaumont are JC Penney, Bronze Body, CVS on Highway 105 and Phelan, Family Worship Center, Harbor Hospice, Health South Hospital, John Wayne Hair Stylist, Macy’s and M&D Hardware, to name a few. In Orange, visit Ace Hardware, Big Lots, Bronze Body, CVS, Market Basket and Walgreen’s. In Port Arthur, trees will be set up at Tequila Mexican Restaurant, Bronze Body, JC Penney at Central Mall, CVS, Walgreen’s and HEB. A complete list of participating stores can be found at beasantatoasenior.com.