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Program aims to have every senior get a gift this Christmas

For seniors without family and someone to share holiday gift-giving, it can be a lonely time. One program aims to change that for local seniors.
SantaToSenior
Holiday cheer coming for hundreds of local seniors who would otherwise go without a gift. Photo submitted.

Do you know a senior without family to celebrate the holidays with? For nearly 20 years, The Be a Santa to a Senior Program, run by Home Instead Edmonton, has provided gifts to hundreds of local seniors, and there's still time to register yourself or a senior you know to receive some holiday cheer this December.

Morgan Fernie, client care coordinator with Home Instead Edmonton says to date, she's only received requests to provide gifts for 250 seniors, but the organization hopes to double last year's tally and reach about 600 seniors in need. Home Instead works with local agencies like the Northwest Edmonton Society, SAGE and People in Need Society to identify those seniors who'll be without family this Christmas, but Fernie says people can also put their own name forward (or a family member's name) to get on the list for a gift.

"Those who want to donate can buy gifts and drop them off at the Home Instead offices; things like blankets, socks, toiletries, sweets, slippers," said Fernie. "But like last year, we're also continuing with the contactless delivery model, and partnering with Amazon Business so people can see customized wish lists and buy tailored gifts online."

“While many of us are able to safely celebrate the holidays this year, a large number of older adults may still be feeling lonely,” said Jeff Huber, CEO at Home Instead. In 18 years, franchises have given some two million gifts to 750,000 seniors across North America. “The Be a Santa to a Senior program delivers gifts, but more importantly, reminds older adults that someone is thinking of them. With the safety of recipients, volunteers and staff in mind, there are many ways to participate this year.”

"We've had amazing feedback from seniors" said Fernie, noting the west Edmonton Home Instead location gave about 800 gifts to 350 seniors last year. "We helped a lot of people and hope to do the same this year. We just need more seniors to sign up."

For more information about Be a Santa to a Senior, or to sign up yourself or a family member, visit BeASantaToASenior.com. You can also contact morgan.fernie@homeinstead.com or call 780-439-9990, ext. 105.