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Be a Santa to a Senior

By Staff | Nov 28, 2014

The opportunity is available for those who are able to be a “Santa to a Senior” this year.

The Be a Santa to a Senior program is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care, offering assistance to disadvantaged seniors in the Berkeley and Jefferson communities.

Outside agencies such as assisted living facilities such as Canterbury and Shenandoah Center as well as agencies such as Good Shepherd Caregivers provide names of potential seniors. Specific guidelines on things such as income must be met before a senior is qualified to participate.

Once selected, that senior is asked to provide a three-item “wish list” which is then recorded on a Christmas ornament and placed on a tree in one of several businesses promoting the program.

According to Angela Wells, Community Services representative with Home Instead, most of the items cost less than $50.

“A lot of the seniors put things on there like socks, gloves, towels and sheets and even household cleaners,” Wells shared.

Community members can find the trees at K-Mart in Martinsburg as well as Walgreens in both Charles Town and Martinsburg and Bob Evans in Ranson.

An ornament can be taken from the tree that includes the senior’s wish list and the gifts are returned to that same location with the ornament attached by the Dec. 15 deadline.

Wells said that this is the fifth year for the program that has served almost 900 seniors over its lifespan.

“We had 50 seniors our first year. We are up to 384 for this Christmas,” she said.

Wells explained that when all of the gifts are gathered, a volunteer base goes through all to make sure that each senior gets the items on their list.

“We try to make sure all three items are purchased,” she said.

Funds to help round out the season for the seniors come from donations, Wells said.

“We rely on those public donations to fill the wish lists that don’t get filled,” she said.

The gifts are then delivered to the seniors in time for the holidays. Wells said that in Jefferson County, members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office volunteer to deliver.

“We work closely with Lt. Tom Hansen and Chief Jesse Jones,” she said.

Those interested in being a Santa are encouraged to visit one of the locations and select an ornament, shop and return the gifts by the deadline. Those wishing to make a monetary contribution may do so by dropping a check at the Home Instead location at 803 W. King Street in Martinsburg. Designate in the memo line that the donation is for the Be a Santa program and all funds will be used to provide the gifts requested.