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Group gathers gifts for seniors

POSTED: December 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Legacy Link is teaming with two local businesses to provide Christmas gifts to area senior citizens through the "Be a Santa to a Senior" program.

The local office of Home Instead Senior Care, which provides non-medical home care and companionship for senior citizens, has joined Chick-fil-A in Gainesville to provide presents to seniors who otherwise might not receive a gift.

"‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ each year sets new records in contributions of gifts to a group that often is forgotten during the hectic holiday season, said David Riggs, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office that serves Hall, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Dawson, Lumpkin and Habersham counties. "While children are the beneficiaries of many holiday programs, people often don’t think about the isolated and lonely seniors who need to be remembered as well during this season. ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ also is designed to help stimulate human contact and social interaction for older adults who are unlikely to have guests during the holidays."

Legacy Link in Gainesville has provided names of needy and isolated seniors in Gainesville to Home Instead Senior Care. Their first names only and their gift requests are on paper ornaments placed on a Christmas tree at Chick-fil-A at 400 Pearl Nix Road in Gainesville.

Through Wednesday, holiday shoppers can pick up an ornament at the restaurant, buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store, along with the ornament attached. Home Instead gets volunteers to collect, wrap and distribute those gifts to seniors.

‘‘‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ is a fulfilling way to say ‘thanks’ to those older adults who have helped build our community," Rigg said. "Our hope is that many will be touched by this holiday gesture of good will."

This is the fifth year of the program, which in the past four years has distributed some 930,000 gifts to 568,055 seniors throughout North America. Last year, more than 26,400 volunteers distributed gifts to seniors.



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