Raleigh, N.C. — A local company that provides at-home care and companionship for senior citizens is working to spread a little holiday cheer this year for hundreds of elderly people with a program called Be a Santa to a Senior.
This year marks the seventh year that Home Instead Senior Care in Raleigh, in partnership with Resources for Seniors and local churches, has participated in the program, which is similar to the more well-known Angel Tree program, in which underprivileged children ask for gifts for the holidays.
The difference is that the gifts are for the elderly who are either struggling financially, are homebound, live alone or are alone for the holidays.
Names and wish lists are placed as ornaments on trees. Donors choose an ornament, buy items on the list and return them to Home Instead to wrap and hand out as gifts for the holidays.
Home Instead's senior care coordinator, Peg Navolanic, says the gifts are usually basic necessities, such as toothpaste, toilet paper and paper towels.
"(People who take an ornament) are pretty shocked that that's all they want," she said. "They don't want an elaborate gift or anything."
When it first started in 2006, there were 20 people in Wake County in need of holiday cheer. This year, there are 350 people.
Home Instead has giving trees at six locations in Wake County, including Brier Creek, Glenwood Avenue and Six Forks Road.
Donors can also drop off donations at Home Instead's office at 8360 Six Forks Road, Suite 103.
Donations are being accepted until Dec. 6.
Home Instead offices in other counties, such as Durham and Orange, are also participating in the program.