orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

December 1, 2012

Holiday program helps seniors struggling with poverty and loneliness

ORANGE — With so many older adults living alone and in poverty, 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 Charlie Holder owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange counties. “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 Nutrition Service Center, Some Other Place, 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 kicked off November 5 and will run through December 20. Christmas trees, which will go up in a number of area locations, 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.

Christmas trees are located in participating stores with ornaments that feature the senior’s name along with their “Wish List”. Participants are identified by local senior citizens service providers.

“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,” Holder said. “Helping a needy older adult can bring fulfillment to the giver as well as the receiver – it does make a difference,” he added.

The agencies volunteering to assist in this program are Home Instead Senior Care, Nutrition Senior Services, Orange Community Action Association, Professional Home Health, Texas Home Health, Girling Home Health, Group Care Home Health, Pro Home Health, Centex Assisted Living Facilities, Lucas House Assisted Living, Clairmont Assisted, Harbor Hospice, Hospice of Texas, Valero Refinery, Adult Protective Services, Kaplan College, Village Creek Rehab, Kountze Nursing Home, Met Life Insurance, Girl Scouts of America, Hunter and Birch Attorneys, Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission, BBVA Compass Bank, CapitalOne Bank, and Some Other Place.

For more information about the program, visit www.beasantatoasenior.com or call (409) 892-7494.

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