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Group launches gift drive for seniors
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Ornaments are placed onto a Christmas tree Thursday as part of the “Be a Santa to a Senior” campaign at Chick-fil-A on Peal Nix Parkway. The ornament lists a few gifts that can be purchased to give to a senior. Members of the community are invited to select an ornament and return to the restaurant with the unwrapped gifts from the selected list by Dec. 7. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Halloween just passed and Thanksgiving has yet to arrive, but many people have already turned their attention toward Christmas.

Although most people focus their attention on the holiday wish lists of children, there are some who are focusing on the older members of the community.

Administrators with the local Home Instead Senior Care office have teamed up with several organizations to launch its annual "Be a Santa to A Senior Campaign."

"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," said David Rigg, who owns the local Home Instead office. "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."

The senior program is similar to those for children. Area nonprofit groups have identified several seniors and have given those names, along with their holiday wish list, to Home Instead. Wauka Mountain Elementary School Student Council members then decorated ornaments displaying the lists, which are now hung from a Christmas tree at Chick-fil-A on Pearl Nix Parkway.

Members of the community are invited to select an ornament and return to the restaurant with the unwrapped gifts from the selected list by Dec. 7. Participants should also be sure to return the ornament with the gifts, so that volunteers can deliver the items to the correct senior.

"(The seniors request) anything from cleaning supplies, to clothing, household items and plain treats," said Andrew Williams, Home Instead community service representative.

Nationally, more than 560,000 seniors have benefitted since the campaign started five years ago.

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

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