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Holiday Program Helps Tulsa Seniors Struggling With Poverty and Loneliness

Be a Santa to a Tulsa OK senior this year
With so many older adults living alone and in poverty, some Tulsa-area seniors will undoubtedly be struggling to make ends meet this holiday season. That's why the area Home Instead Senior Care® office has partnered with retailers and community organizations to make sure isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship through the Be a Santa to a Senior® program.

"Seniors faced with medical bills and the high cost of living can find they have little left at the end of the year," said Andrew Garrean, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Tulsa. "That's not the only issue, though. Personal needs may become magnified for so many living alone with no one to share their problems."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9 percent of U.S. seniors 65 and older are living in poverty and 27 percent are widowed.*

With the support of the Tulsa Office on Aging, the Senior Nutrition Program, Sodexo, area retailers, volunteers and members of the community, the local Home Instead Senior Care office will collect and distribute gifts to seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.

The Be a Santa to a Senior program will kick off November 9 and run through December 15. Christmas trees, which will go up in both Drysdales locations and the Kmart on 51st and Harvard will feature ornaments with the first names of the seniors and their respective gift requests.

Holiday shoppers are asked to pick up an ornament off special Be a Santa to a Senior Christmas trees, buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store, along with the ornament attached. The Home Instead Senior Care office will then enlist the volunteer help of its staff, senior-care business associates, non-profit workers and others to collect, wrap and distribute the gifts.

This year, Home Instead will have some special helpers from Holy Family Cathedral. Each art class will help decorate holiday cards and 400 paper gift bags, donated by Reasor's Foods, on Thursday, November 29.

"Be a Santa to a Senior is another way to say 'thank you' to the many seniors who have made such important contributions to our community throughout the years," Garrean said. "Helping a needy older adult can bring fulfillment to the giver as well as the receiver – it does make a difference," Garrean added.

For more information about the program, visit www.beasantatoasenior.com or call (918) 384-0980.
*U.S. Census Bureau;
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb12-ff07.html