Program aims to brighten holidays for Toledo area seniorsWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | email@example.com
Most gift drives aim to provide presents for children during the holiday season.
Toledo’s Be a Santa to a Senior program, sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care, instead provides gifts for the older members of the community.
“It is heartbreaking to think of the senior members of our community spending the holidays all by themselves, without any gifts or any way to celebrate the season,” said Scott Rozanski, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care office serving Greater Toledo area, in a news release. “But all too often, that’s what happens when seniors live alone. It can be a really tough time of year for them.”
Home Instead Senior Care has partnered with Walmart and Genesis Village, a 91-unit senior living community on South Reynolds Road, to help with the gift collection and distribution. Program officials hope to collect 200 gifts in order to help area seniors this holiday season.
Through Dec. 10, Walmart, 2925 Glendale Ave., and Genesis Village, 2429 S. Reynolds Road, will display Be a Santa to a Senior Christmas trees that feature ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests. Holiday shoppers can pick ornaments from the trees, buy the items listed and return them unwrapped (and with the ornament attached) to the location.
Program partners and volunteers will wrap and distribute the gifts to local seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.
Jessica Blattner, marketing manager at Genesis Village, said it made sense for the community — just marking its one-year anniversary — to be involved in the effort. The tree at Genesis has names of seniors from throughout the area, not just its own residents. She said residents there are also on the giving side of the equation.
“A lot of times, seniors are looking for ways themselves to give back to other folks that might need something or be less fortunate,” she said. “It’s a cool way for them to take a name off the tree, do something that’s purposeful and help someone out.”
She said the program helps seniors know that someone cares about them.
“Maybe you have plenty of money, but not a lot of people thinking about you this time of year,” Blattner said.
“During this season of giving, we encourage shoppers to buy a little extra for a local senior,” Rozanski said. “Your gift — and more importantly the visit that comes with the delivery — could make their holiday season.”
For more information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call (419) 472-8181.