In 2006, Be a Santa to a Senior volunteers visited a local nursing facility and distributed gifts to a number of residents, including one 87-year-old woman whom we'll call Mary. She was pleased to receive her gift and thanked us profusely, but it wasn't until we returned to give Mary another gift in 2007 that we recognized the true value of Be a Santa to a Senior.
When we entered Mary's room for our second visit, we noticed that the only card on her bulletin board was the Be a Santa to a Senior card from the previous year. As we spoke with her caregivers we found out that our Christmas card and gift were the only items she had received throughout the year. Mary re-read the card regularly to help keep that memory alive.
Each year Home Instead Senior Care® offices throughout North America spread holiday cheer to lonely or financially-challenged seniors through the Be a Santa to a Senior program. The program has attracted upwards of 60,000 volunteers over the past six years distributing gifts to deserving seniors. Since introducing the Be a Santa to a Senior program, Home Instead Senior Care has helped provide 1.2 million gifts to more than 700,000 seniors.
Home Instead Senior Care partners with local non-profit and community organizations to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season. The company then works with local businesses and retail stores to help facilitate the purchase and distribution of gifts by placing trees and ornaments within their various locations. Each senior's gift requests are written on a Be a Santa to a Senior tree ornament.
How the Program Works
Home Instead Senior Care franchise offices partner with local senior care facilities, non-profit organizations and other community groups to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive a special gift or visit this holiday season. Then, partnering retail locations and local businesses will display trees decorated with gift tags featuring the seniors' name and gift requests. Shoppers and patrons can select a tag, purchase the requested items, and return them to the store.
After the collection of gift donations, Home Instead Senior Care franchise offices enlist the help of community volunteers to wrap and distribute the gifts.
How You and Your Organization Can Participate
Start by visiting www.beasantatoasenior.com and enter your zip code to find a Be a Santa to a Senior program near you. Then contact the Home Instead Senior Care office coordinating the program and ask how you can help! Here are a few ways you and your organization might be able to participate:
- Recommend lonely or financially challenged seniors who could benefit from the program.
- Organize a gift drive within your organization where you and fellow employees "adopt" a group of seniors and collect gifts. Contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office for a list of seniors' names and requests.
- Send a monetary donation to cover the cost of wrapping supplies or requests for gifts not yet purchased.
- Volunteer to help wrap or deliver gifts.