Over 5,000 Southeast Texas senior citizens who otherwise might be forgotten this Christmas season will receive gifts and companionship through the seventh annual “Be a Santa to a Senior” program. The Meals On Wheels Program, senior organizations such as The Foundation for the Betterment of Seniors, and area retailers are partnering with event sponsor Home Instead Senior Care to brighten the lives of senior citizens in Orange, Jefferson, and Hardin counties.
“Seniors faced with medical bills and the high cost of living can find they have little left at the end of the year,” said Charlie Holder, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving the area. “That’s not the only issue, though. Personal needs may become magnified for so many living alone with no one to share their problems.”
Christmas trees at more than 100 participating stores in the area display paper ornaments with a senior’s name and requested gifts listed. Anyone wishing to give a gift should stop by one of the numerous area locations and pick an ornament from the tree. The trees will be up through Dec. 20 with gifts being distributed throughout the community as they are received. Volunteers wrap and deliver the gifts to seniors at their homes. Last year, thousands of gifts were distributed to seniors in the area. This year’s goal for the Be a Santa to a Senior campaign is 5,000 gifts.
“Be a Santa to a Senior is another way to say thank you to the many seniors who have made such important contributions to our community throughout the years,” Holder said. “Helping a needy older adult can bring fulfillment to the giver as well as the receiver – it does make a difference.”
Agencies that are volunteering to assist in this program include Adult Protective Services, Some Other Place, Nutrition Senior Services (Meals on Wheels), Orange Community Action Association (Meals on Wheels), Home Instead Senior Care, River City Hospice, Professional Home Health, Texas Home Health, Girling Home Health, Group Care Home Health, Pro Home Health, Pro Home Health, Centex Assisted Living Facilities, Lucas House Assisted Living, Clairmont Assisted Living, Harbor Hospice, Hospice of Texas, Valero Refinery, Kaplan College, Village Creek Rehab, Kountze Nursing Home, Met Life Insurance, Girl Scouts of America, Hunter and Birch Attorneys, BBVA Compass Bank (six locations) and CapitalOne Bank.
Some of the locations that are participating include H-E-B, Bronze Body, CVS, Walgreen’s, John Wayne Hair Stylist, M & D Hardware, J.C. Penney department store at Parkdale Mall, Sam’s Club, Tina’s Heavenly Touch, The Pink Chandelier Boutique, Wesley United Church, Westgate Baptist Church, World Gym (two locations), Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission, King’s Pharmacy, BBVA Compass Banks, Five Point Credit Union, CapitalOne, Kroger on Dowlen, Macy’s, and Harbor Hospice. For general information and other locations, call the local Home Instead Senior Care office at (409) 892-7494, call The Foundation for the Betterment of Seniors at (409) 892-4455 or visit www.beasantatoasenior.org  online.