This season, holiday shoppers in the Upper Cumberland can give cheer to area seniors by participating in the Be a Santa to a Senior program.
The program — run by Home Instead Senior Care in partnership with Adult Protective Services, Avalon Hospice, CARIS Hospice, Cookeville Regional Medical Center, CRMC Cancer Center, Cumberland Medical Center, CMC Home Health, Gentiva Hospice, Highland Rim Home Health, Intrepid Home Health, Quality Home Health, Suncrest Home Health, the Upper Cumberland Development District, area retailers, volunteers and members of the community — helps ensure isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship during the holidays. This can be a difficult time for many, especially those who live alone or have lost spouses and loved ones.
An estimated 27 percent of people 65 and older (10.8 million people) are widowed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Furthermore, the Administration on Aging reports about 28 percent (11.8 million) non-institutionalized people 65 and older live alone.
Retailers, churches and facilities participating in Be a Santa to a Senior will display Christmas trees and wreaths from now to Dec. 2 that feature ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests. Holiday shoppers can pick an ornament from these trees and wreaths, buy the items listed and return them unwrapped to the store, church or facility, with the ornament attached.
Be a Santa to a Senior trees will be located at Walmart in Algood and Village Green Mall in Fairfield Glade. Be a Santa to a Senior ornaments and wreaths will be located at the following places: 7th Ave. Salon, Cookeville
• Buckeye Medical, Crossville
• Caney Fork Baptist Church
• Cedar Hills Senior Living
• Cookeville Life Church
• Heritage Pointe Senior Living
• JJ Jaxx
• New Home Baptist Church
• Progressive Savings Bank, Crossville
• St. Raphael’s Episcopal Church, Crossville
• Willow Avenue Church of Christ
The local Home Instead Senior Care office will enlist volunteers from its staff, senior-care business associates, non-profit workers and others to collect, wrap and distribute the gifts to local seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone. A community-wide wrapping party will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 8:30 a.m. at Life Church in Cookeville.
“Be a Santa to a Senior gives back to older adults in our area, many of whom have had significant, positive influence on our lives,” said Rob Brown, owner of the local Home Instead Senior Care office. “During this season of giving, we encourage shoppers to buy a little extra to say thank you to these community members.”
For more information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call (931) 526-1127.