By Irene Hilsendager
Tuesday was a day of giving and joy. Julie Ann Soukoulis of Home Instead, had their office filled with gifts, volunteers, young people and delivery personnel. Each year this day is always exciting for the seniors. Gifts are 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.
It starts out very simply back in August by partnering with many different stores and organizations. All Oliver stores, Raley’s, Leading Edge in Santa Rosa, Dr. Nelson, DDS, Oakville Grocery, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park Realtors, Fidelity Title in Rohnert Park and Pacific Gas and Electric employees were all very generous with paper tags and names and desires written on them to let any person know what can be purchased for that particular senior. A master list comes from care facilities with ages and genders along with special care for veterans.
For those that 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 and organizations provide names of indigent seniors in our local community. Many of these seniors may not receive a gift or have very little to no family contact for the holidays. Lists of names and gift ideas that are then placed on ornaments on a tree and local people will “adopt” the seniors and purchase gifts for them. Early December is the time frame for the wrapping party and deliver them to the appropriate senior.
Following the recent wildfires that swept the county, destroying thousands of homes in the region, there has been no sign of donation fatigue and the generosity of local business, volunteers and community members is bringing great joy to local seniors during the holidays.