Be a Santa for a Senior!
by Margaret Campbell
It’s that time of year when Santa Claus will be coming to town to visit the homes of sleeping tots all over the county. He will also pay visits, with the help of NHC HomeCare, to a segment of the Giles County population that is often overlooked during this season of giving — seniors.
“We see so much need in the senior community; they are such a treasured part of the community. About six years ago we decided to put together a program to reach out to seniors during the holidays,” NHC HomeCare Director Lynnae Blackwell explained.
The number of seniors who are alone during the holidays may be surprising to some.
“For whatever reason, some of them may not have enough to eat or the supplies to meet the needs of everyday life and we hope that by involving the community and reaching out to seniors who need help we can promote a spirit of giving that may carry throughout the year,” Blackwell said.
NHC’s staff is on the lookout to find those in need. Local skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, senior agencies and home-cares are contacted and asked to offer names of anyone who would benefit from a Christmas box. Once individuals are identified, the group tries to determine what items they are in need of most to fill the boxes.
“Some of the items that we need are things that most people would not think of, like alarm clocks with large numbers, towels and wash clothes, non-skid slippers and socks, nail kits, calendars, neckerchiefs, snacks and crackers, sugar-free candy, soup and canned goods, tooth brushes, soap, smoke-alarms and batteries, blankets, puzzles, stationary and cards; any item that would make a senior’s life a little easier,” Blackwell said.
Blackwell knows how willing the community is to step up for these often forgotten members of the community.
“We have a couple in the county who spend the whole year going to flea markets, purchasing items like Depends,” Black well said. “They stack them high in a spare bedroom and donate them to us for Santa for Seniors. They don’t have children or grandchildren to spend for at Christmas and they have everything they need, so it’s their Christmas present to each other!”
“The items can be wrapped or unwrapped,” Blackwell said. “If they are wrapped, they need to be labeled with what’s inside. We so appreciate everyone who contributes to the program and more importantly the seniors appreciate having the Christmas cheer.”
Deadline for the Santa for Seniors program is Friday, Dec. 14. Items may be dropped off at NHC HomeCare, 1102 E. College St., Pulaski, during regular office hours. For more information, call 363-0703.