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Home Instead’s Be a Santa to a Senior Program finds new ways to spread cheer

Home Instead’s Be a Santa to a Senior Program finds new ways to spread cheer

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At a time when it may be more important than ever, Home Instead’s seasonal favorite Be a Santa to a Senior program is returning stronger than ever with new options for community participation.

Programs coordinators evaluated the important holiday program and made adjustments with the safety of donors, seniors and volunteers in mind, it was noted in a release. With Iredell and Alexander County area seniors more isolated than ever because of concerns due to the virus, this year, for the first time in the program’s 17-year history, Home Instead is teaming up with Amazon Business, to create a contactless gift-giving experience for volunteers and recipients. The new Amazon Business collaboration will provide the same holiday cheer to local seniors while also prioritizing the safety and wellness of all who are involved.

Hoping to collect more than 7,000 gifts for 2,000 area seniors, Home Instead will also collect gifts at tree locations across the area, as well as accepting monetary donations to support the program.

“The Be a Santa to a Senior program brings so much joy to seniors in our community,” said Tracey Gibson, owner of the Statesville Home Instead office. “Seniors are especially at risk for the feelings of isolation that we’ve all felt at some point during the pandemic, and a simple gift can show them that they have been thought of, which is more important this year than ever.”

Be a Santa to a Senior relies on the generous support of the Statesville community and volunteers, as well as area businesses, nonprofit organizations and retailers. This year Home Instead has partnered with several area retailers and the Mooresville Christian Mission, Statesville Christian Mission, the Statesville Senior Center, Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce and South Iredell Senior Center. Headwaters Academy will be providing cards for the seniors.

Groucho’s Deli, located in downtown Statesville at 101 E. Broad St. is one such area business that is helping once again to make sure the seniors are remembered this Christmas.

Brandon and Cindy Sutton, owners of the Statesville Groucho’s, said that they have been involved in this Christmas tradition for at least the past five years.

“As small business owners, we believe in giving back to the community that supports us,” said Cindy.

Serving as a caregiver for her elderly father, Cindy said that she and Brandon “have had a passion for the elderly demographic. For seniors that have no one, I can’t imagine what it is like for them.”

“We put about 50 ornaments each year on the tree,” said Cindy, and we always run out and have to replenish. We have 18 employees, and I believe each one gets an ornament and buys a gift,” she noted.

Another location where people will be able to stop to get an ornament is the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce, 149 E. Iredell Ave., Mooresville.

When asked about this special program for seniors, Kirk Ballard, president of the chamber, said, “it’s wonderful.”

The chamber has been involved in the program between five to 10 years, he noted, and it “makes it a special time,” he said of this annual event. “It’s more blessed to give than receive Ballard said as he noted that the seniors don’t ask for much but just “for specific needs.”

In past years, the chamber office has been a popular place for people to come and pick an ornament as they have had to ask for additional names when they run out.

“Our hearts go out to these seniors," Ballard said.

Members of the community can visit one of the participating locations and look for the Be a Santa to a Senior tree on display through Dec. 19. Each tree will be decorated with ornaments featuring the www.beasantatoasenior.com website where virtual trees and ornaments are displayed. Shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift, and it will shop from Amazon straight to the senior.

In addition, participants can visit BeASantatoaSenior.com and enter their zip code to view Wish Lists for local seniors on Amazon Business also through Dec. 19. A personalized greeting can be included with the gift, which will be shipped directly to the senior.

Monetary donations to purchase gifts and support the program will also be accepted. Donations can be made through the Home Instead Foundation, https://www.beasantatoasenior.com/donate/

“We need the community’s help more than ever to make sure seniors feel connected this year,” said Gibson. “This year we knew we had to find a way to spread holiday cheer to senior, and we are grateful for the community’s participation.

The release noted that since the program’s creation in 2003, Be a Santa to a Senior has provided approximately 2.1 million gifts and with the help or more than 75,000 volunteers, brightened the season for more than 750,000 deserving seniors nationwide. With adjustment, Home Instead will be able to continue the annual gift-giving program while following social distancing and safety precautions during COVID-19.

For additional information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call Home Instead Senior Care at 704-924-9909.

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