‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ program provides holiday cheer to the elderly

Published: Updated:
MGN Online

FORT MYERS, Fla.- This season, many Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties seniors who are alone or impoverished will receive some holiday cheer thanks to the “Be a Santa to a Senior”program.

The program is sponsored by the local Home Instead Senior Care office. It brings together area nonprofits, retailers, numerous volunteers and members of the community to provide gifts and companionship for lonely and isolated seniors.

“It is heartbreaking to think of the senior members of our community spending the holidays all by themselves, without any gifts or any way to celebrate the season,” said Sue Bidwell, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office. “But all too often, that’s what happens when seniors live alone. It can be a really tough time of year for them.”

The office has partnered with Legacy Church, The Brooks and other area assisted living facilities as well as Graceworks Unlimited and area Girl Scout troops to help with the gift collection and distribution. Program officials hope to collect 11,000 gifts in order to help more than 5,000 area seniors this holiday season.

Participating retail locations will display “Be a Santa to a Senior” Christmas trees from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 that feature ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests. Holiday shoppers can pick ornaments from the trees, buy the items listed and return them unwrapped (and with the ornament attached) to the store.

Program partners and volunteers will wrap and distribute the gifts to local seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.

For a complete list of locations and addresses of businesses where you can find the Christmas trees, visit www.beasantatoasenior.com. For more information on the program, you can also call 239-226-0007.

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