Be a Santa to a Senior gives holiday cheer to area seniors

The tree at the area office of Home Instead Senior Care is filled with wishes from area seniors in hopes that a community Santa will help them have a Merry Christmas.

The tree at the area office of Home Instead Senior Care is filled with wishes from area seniors in hopes that a community Santa will help them have a Merry Christmas.

After two very successful years, the popular Be a Santa to a Senior campaign has returned to deliver gifts to area senior citizens. Area retailers and local agencies that serve older adults partner with the area office of Home Instead Senior Care, a local senior-care service, to make sure that isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship through the Be a Santa to a Senior (BASTAS) program.

This is the sixth year for the national BASTAS program, and last year more than 28,000 volunteers distributed gifts to deserving seniors. In the five years since introducing BASTAS, Home Instead Senior Care has helped provide more than one million gifts to 700,000 seniors in North America.

“Be a Santa to a Senior is a great way to give back to the older adults in the community during the hectic holiday season when many are forgotten,” said Carolyn Clark, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office. “The holiday is often considered a time for children, but seniors - especially those who are isolated and lonely - need to be remembered as well. Be a Santa to a Senior also is designed to help stimulate human contact and social interaction for older adults who are unlikely to have guests during the holidays.”

The program runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 18. Prior to the holiday season, the participating local organizations identified needy and isolated seniors in the community and provided those names to Home Instead Senior Care for this community service program. Christmas trees set up in T J Maxx and Walgreens stores will feature ornaments with the first names of the needy seniors and their respective gift requests.

Holiday shoppers can pick up an ornament, buy items on the list and return them to the store in gift bags, along with the ornament attached. Home Instead Senior Care then enlists the volunteer help of its staff, senior-care business associates, non-profit workers and others to collect, sort and distribute the gifts to these seniors.

“Be a Santa to a Senior is a way to show our gratitude to those older adults who have contributed so much to our community,” Clark said. “We hope to reach out to many with this gesture of holiday cheer and goodwill.”

Businesses and churches in the community are encouraged to contact Carolyn Clark at 865-273-2178 at the local Home Instead Senior Care office about adopting groups of seniors or participating in other ways.

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