NORTH COUNTY — The campaign that last year delivered more than 1,500 gifts to local needy seniors is being planned again this holiday season. Area retailers, along with agencies that serve older adults, have partnered with a local senior-care service to make sure that isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship through the Be a Santa to a Senior program.The area office of Home Instead Senior Care has joined the Vista Senior Center, Oceanside Senior Center, San Marcos Senior Center, Escondido Senior Center and Encinitas Senior Center to provide this holiday service.
The program runs through Dec. 16. Prior to the holiday season, the local organizations will identify seniors in the community and provide those names to Home Instead Senior Care. Christmas trees in local area Wal-Mart stores will feature ornaments with the first names only of the seniors and their respective gift requests.
Trees will be located at 1800 University Drive, Vista; 3405 Marron Road, Oceanside; 705 College Blvd., Oceanside; 2100 Vista Way, Oceanside and 732 Center Drive, San Marcos.
Holiday shoppers can pick up an ornament, buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store, along with the ornament attached. Home Instead Senior Care then enlists the volunteer help of its staff, senior-care business associates, nonprofit workers and others to collect, wrap and distribute the gifts to these seniors. A citywide gift-wrapping day, when hundreds of the presents will be wrapped, will be held Dec. 16 at the San Marcos Senior Center at 111 W. Richmar in San Marcos. Anyone interested in volunteering to help with gift-wrapping day, should contact Dawn Coats at (760) 639-6472.
“Be a Santa to a Senior is a fulfilling way to say thanks to those older adults who have helped build our community,” Paul Dziuban, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving North San Diego County, said. “While children are the beneficiaries of many holiday programs, people often don’t think about the isolated and lonely seniors who need to be remembered as well during this season. 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.”
Businesses are encouraged to contact the local Home Instead Senior Care office about adopting groups of seniors.