Needs: Gifts for children being raised by their grandparents, young homebound clients and seniors
How to help: Call Legacy Link at 770-538-2650 or 800-845-5465, go online, or stop by Chick-fil-A on Jesse Jewell Parkway. If you are interested specifically in purchasing gifts for grandchildren, ask for Julia Jessee.
During the holiday season, parents often scurry to get the season’s hottest toy for their children — going from store to store, shopping for hours online or braving Black Friday crowds.
But what if you are a senior who, for various reasons, is now responsible for being a parent to your own grandchildren?
In the 13-county area covered by Legacy Link, some 96 children are being raised by their grandparents or even great-grandparents, according to Pat Freeman, executive director of Legacy Link. The agency is an advocacy group for seniors.
“Another area of need that we have are the young children being raised by their grandparents,” Freeman said. “Sometimes that can be a real hardship.”
In several counties, Legacy Link has established support groups that meet monthly. Freeman said the seniors keep involved in their
grandchildren’s lives, including attending PTO meetings, but sometimes they need help during the holidays.
Legacy Link’s Julia Jessee, the Kinship Care coordinator, is “working with grandparents and great-grandparents who may have anything from infants to teenagers,” Freeman said. “It’s amazing ... many times (they have) no financial help at all. Sometimes they do have finances to buy gifts for the grandchildren, but we are concerned about the situations where there is no money to buy those gifts, but they would like to get them.”
Those interested in helping can contact Jessee, who can provide children’s ages and genders and gift suggestions. Gifts could range from toys and games to socks and other clothing, Freeman said.
She said several gifts for the agency’s homebound seniors, many of whom have no family in the area, already have been donated through the annual “Be a Santa to A Senior Campaign.”
Administrators with the local Home Instead Senior Care office have teamed up with several local organizations to launch its annual program. Those wishing help can pick an ornament with a gift request off the tree at the Chick-fil-A on Pearl Nix Parkway and return the ornament and unwrapped gift by Dec. 7
“That has gone very well ... the presents are coming in,” said Pat Freeman, executive director of Legacy Link, an advocacy group for seniors.
Legacy Link also helps coordinate care for those who may have severe physical or mental disabilities and many of those clients are in their 20s and 30s and have very little income, Freeman said. Be a Santa to a Senior Campaign is limited to seniors only and she would like the younger homebound clients to receive Christmas gifts as well.
“Those (young) people need gifts also and we’re not talking about expensive things,” Freeman said.