People can spread some joy to the world by providing isolated seniors with a special holiday surprise.
The Home Instead Senior Care organization launched its annual Be a Santa to a Senior program on Nov. 19, which provides gifts and companionship to older adults throughout the city without family or loved ones.
“They’re truly alone on Christmas,” said Lesley Sullivan, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office located in Kanata. “(Be a Santa) is probably the only Christmas contact that they have.”
The senior care organization partners with local charities, agencies and community resource centres to identify isolated seniors who are in need of some holiday happiness.
“Many seniors are faced with having to spend the holidays alone,” said Sullivan. “As one gets older social circles become smaller, health concerns become greater and many seniors become isolated.”
The program isn’t necessarily for financially needy seniors, Sullivan said.
“It’s for seniors who have no one to share Christmas with.”
The organization has set up Christmas trees at four locations throughout the city where people can choose an ornament with a senior’s name and a gift idea from the tree:
* Carlingwood Shopping Centre.
* Shoppers Home Health Care 420 Hazeldean Rd.
* Shoppers Home Health Care 1309 Carling Ave.
* Shoppers Home Health Care 1675 Tenth Line Rd.
“The public is encouraged to pick up (an ornament), purchase a gift and leave the gift under the tree, unwrapped,” said Sullivan.
Last year saw 650 gifts provided to seniors throughout Ottawa, said Sullivan. This year’s numbers are expected to be about the same.
“Be a Santa to a Senior is another way to say thank you to the many seniors who have made such important contributions to our community throughout the years,” Sullivan said. “Helping a needy older adult can bring fulfillment to the giver as well as the receiver – it does make a difference.”
Dymon Self Storage in Kanata has volunteered space to store the gifts, as well as space for the gift wrapping party, which will take place on Dec. 17 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Home Instead Senior Care will deliver the wrapped gifts to the agencies, which will then give the presents to the clients.
Anyone interested in volunteering time to wrap gifts is asked to call 613-599-6906. For more details, visit beasantatoasenior.ca.