Be a Santa to a Senior

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

December 16, 2005

Thanks to volunteer efforts, many seniors in need who may have otherwise been overlooked this Christmas got a visit from Santa. He came bearing gifts and spreading holiday cheer to folks who might not have had either this holiday season.

"Wow, I wasn't expecting that," said one senior, surprised by her present.

Studies show during the holiday season senior citizens don't expect much. Half of all seniors won't get visitors, let alone presents. But a recent program sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care is taking steps to change that. This holiday, volunteers get to play Santa to seniors, literally.

"Is this for me?" asked one senior. "Well thank you!"

"You feel like Santa Claus, I wish I had a Santa Claus suit I would wear it," said Scott Wood, a volunteer.

The Wood family volunteers dropped off donated gifts to local seniors living in Westhaven apartments in Charlottesville. For one anxious senior, today was like Christmas morning.

"Oh, that's nice," the senior said about the blanket she unwrapped. "Beautiful."

Others prefer to wait until the big day. "I have to put my tree up. I never open presents until I put my tree up." said another senior.

For the volunteers and the seniors it's not just about the gifts.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for people not only to get to get gifts if they don't have family to give them anything, but also to have a friendly visitor that they might not have had otherwise," said Shaele Wood, a volunteer.

"This is the best Christmas present from the little lady here" said a senior.

It seems the seniors liked three-year-old Kelby more than they liked their presents. She gave each of these seniors the most precious gift she could give them, love.

"Can I have a hug? Bye, I love you," said a senior. "Merry Christmas to you too sweetheart," said another.

Their smiles and memories are priceless.

This is the second year the for the "Be a Santa to a Senior" program. Last year more than 53,000 needy seniors throughout North America received gifts.

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