Local News

'Be a Santa' program provides holiday cheer to elderly

Posted November 27, 2012

— 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."

Be a Santa to a Senior 'Be a Santa' program provides holiday cheer to elderly

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.


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  • jcthai Nov 29, 2012

    whatelseisnew, naaaah. Santa shows up for the entire holidays starting before Thanksgiving. It was Jesus who showed up on Christmas. Besides, "Christmas Cheer" to most people means some form of alcoholic beverage.

  • jcthai Nov 29, 2012

    rachel, good idea. If you are going to scrooge your own family, you certainly should scrooge these people too.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 28, 2012

    Seems like the word ought to be Christmas cheer. Santa only shows up on Christmas not on any other holiday.

  • mmtlash Nov 27, 2012

    a nice positive story for the holidays :-)

  • 2alegal Nov 27, 2012

    As for those Angel trees, you can get the same child all over the County. When I got my Angel off the tree, I usually spent a bunch on that child UNTIL I learned that same child was on several trees. What happened if duplicate items were received?

  • rachel Nov 27, 2012

    I much prefer to give basic needs to someone in need, then chose a tag off a tree that is asking for specific things I don't even buy my own children-like ps3 systems, apple ipods etc. This is a great program.

  • hollylama Nov 27, 2012

    I love this!

  • pulstar40 Nov 27, 2012

    An often overlooked part of society, ESPECIALLY this time of year. What a great idea!