Last Thursday was filled with excitement when Mariclair O’Connell and DJ Colbert from the local Home Instead Senior Care office put up the yearly Christmas tree hanging full with ornamental senior bulbs. The bulbs have senior’s names listed with a wish list for the holidays.
The checklists contain very menial items such as a red lipstick, a red jogging suit, walking shoes, coloring books and crayons, a certain book or a movie theater ticket. These are items we all take for granted but the elders at the Home Instead facilities are often without such things and have no family to contact and request such items. Many are bedridden or in walkers and therefore cannot shop for themselves and often do not have enough cash to even purchase a very small item.
Raley’s of Rohnert Park, Windsor, Petaluma Patelco Credit Union, LT’s Hair Studio on Commerce and Oliver’s in Cotati have all partnered with Home Instead this year to make sure the 600 plus seniors in Sonoma County may have a better holiday. When doing your daily shopping, why not stop by the Christmas tree and pull a few of the paper ornaments and purchase the items requested? You may drop the unwrapped gift into the barrels provided and feel so much better for giving and doing such a small gesture. The last day for Home Instead to collect the barrels is Dec. 16.
After the containers are collected they will go back to the office which are usually filled with gifts, volunteers, young people and delivery personnel. Gifts are all checked and then wrapped and brought to many different areas of Sonoma County.
Since 2003, with the help of more than 60,000 volunteers, the holiday program has provided over two million gifts to deserving seniors. This program has grown to include over 600 seniors in 18 facilities from Healdsburg to Petaluma along with picking up corporate participants such as PG&E, Fidelity National Title, Dr. Nelson DDS in Santa Rosa and the SR Alzheimer’s Society.
This loving program starts usually in August partnering with many different stores and organizations. The employees are all very generous with paper tags and names and desires written on them to let any person know what can be purchased for a particular senior. A master list comes from the care facilities that list names and genders along with very special care for veterans.
For those who have not heard about the program, Home Instead Senior Care’s Santa to a Senior program is an annual program in which a request is put to the community groups to provide names of indigent seniors in the local community. Many of these seniors may not receive a gift or have very little to no family. Many local people will adopt the seniors and purchase gifts for them. Usually the wrapping is done in the local offices around the early or mid-December in order for the gifts to be delivered to the appropriate senior and in time for the holidays.