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‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ program focuses on needy elderly

CONTRIBUTED
Home Instead Senior Care is teaming up with area non-profit 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 Carter, Greene, Unicoi and Washington counties.
“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 Rick Regen, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Jonesborough and Greeneville. “What’s more, this holiday season finds many older adults struggling to make ends meet.”
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.
Christmas trees are now up at Belk Department Stores and a wreath is up at Franklin Woods Hospital in Johnson City. They are adorned with ornaments that give the first names of seniors and their respective needs.
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.
“Be a Santa to a Senior is a way to show our gratitude to those older adults who have contributed so much to our community,” Regen said. “We hope to reach out to many with this gesture of holiday cheer and goodwill.”
The program runs through Dec. 17 when gifts will be delivered to the seniors.
For more information about the program, call 753-5111 or visit to www.beasantatoasenior.com.