Be a Santa to a Senior Helps Older Adults - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Be a Santa to a Senior Helps Older Adults

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Bay County, Fla. -

The holidays are tough for the less fortunate and the hungry, but this time of year may also be difficult for seniors, struggling with poverty and loneliness.

"A lot of them don't have their family around, many times the family is out of town, their friends are deceased and they don't have the mobility to get out, so they are stuck in the house." Lee Harrell says and he's the one who is leading the effort to help struggling seniors. 

According to the U.S Census Bureau, 9% of those 65 and older are living in poverty and 27% are widowed. "We're trying to get as many people involved in the community as we can." Harrell says.

For 8 years straight, ‘Be a Santa to a Senior' collects names and a wish list from community organizations.  The ornaments are then hung on a tree near the entrance of Wal-Mart stores across Bay County. 

A list may include a sweater or sweatshirt, socks, a magazine or chocolates.

To participate here's what you need to do:

  1. Select a Santa ornament from the tree located at the entrance of Walmarts across Bay County.
  2. Purchase item(s) listed.
  3. Put Santa ornament and unwrapped gifts together and turn it into the Customer Service desk.
  4. Home Instead Senior Care will come by and pick them up. Volunteers will wrap and deliver the items starting December 17th.

Home Instead has already collected hundreds of gifts this year. Estimates suggest they will be able to help about 400 to 450 seniors, when it's all said and done.

Names and donations are still being accepted; If you'd like to know more about the program, you can reach them at (850) 522-1919.