Gift drive makes holidays bright for lonely seniors

COAST CITIES — Through Dec. 8, residents will have the opportunity to help local senior citizens who might otherwise be overlooked this holiday season.
Home Instead Senior Care is teaming up with nonprofit agencies and area retailers to sponsor Be a Santa to a Senior, a program that collects, wraps and delivers gifts to lonely and needy seniors in North County.
Trees went up in local Wal-mart stores Nov. 20 and gifts will be delivered to seniors in the community on Dec. 8.
“The need is especially great this year,” said Libby Palmer-Torres of Home Instead Senior Care. “You can make a difference in the life of a local senior.
Be a Santa to a Senior has delivered 1.2 million gifts to seniors throughout North America in the past six years, on the premise that everyone needs more than the bare necessities to survive.
The Home Instead Senior Care office serving North County has joined many local partners and Palomar Hospital and Wal-mart retailers to provide presents to seniors who otherwise might not receive a gift this holiday season.
Program sponsors expect gift requests to be up this year as the economic downturn continues and Social Security benefits fail to keep pace with daily living expenses.
“Most people aren’t aware that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of seniors in every community who have no family and are alone,” said Paul Dziuban, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving North County. “What’s more, this holiday season finds many older adults struggling to make ends meet.”
Prior to the holiday season, the participating local nonprofit organizations will identify needy and isolated seniors in the community and provide those names to Home Instead Senior Care. Christmas trees will feature ornaments with the first names only of the seniors and their respective gift requests. Holiday shoppers can pick up an ornament, buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store, along with the ornament attached. Volunteers will then collect, wrap and deliver the gifts to area seniors.
For more information about the program, call (760) 639-6472 or visit www.beasantatoasenior.com.

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