Meals on Wheels Clients Receive Holiday Cheer Through Popular “Be a Santa to a Senior” Program

Gift bags ready for delivery!

More than 200 Meals on Wheels clients in Jefferson County received gifts this holiday season as a result of the long-standing “Be a Santa to a Senior” program and the community’s generosity. Home Instead Senior Care partnered with local non-profits and community organizations to identify seniors who might not receive gifts at Christmastime. The senior care organization then worked with local businesses and retail stores to facilitate the purchase and distribution of gifts. Donors could also search online for a Christmas tree at area stores, where they could select a senior on a bulb, purchase a present, then place the bulb and unwrapped gift in a designated drop-off box.

Since 2003, Be a Santa to a Senior has maintained its purpose of spreading holiday cheer to elderly individuals and letting seniors know they are cared about just as much as anyone else. United Way Meals on Wheels Director Becky Wright said, “The Meals on Wheels team looks forward to Be a Santa to a Senior all year long. It’s one of our favorite partnerships and we are very thankful for Home Instead.”

Meals on Wheels Volunteer Coordinator Maleia Tortorigi and a young volunteer deliver gifts and smiles to seniors.

Contributing to the huge success of this event are the numerous volunteers who help collect, wrap and deliver gifts. More than 60,000 volunteers have participated since the program began 15 years ago. Local Meals on Wheels volunteers were able to be a part of that large group by delivering presents to recipients in senior centers, senior towers and individual homes during the week before Christmas. Not only were seniors excited to receive their gifts, but to have someone visit them during the holiday season, as well.

To date, Home Instead has provided more than 1,200,000 gifts to about 700,000 deserving seniors in 12 global markets through this program. Popular items requested include alarm clocks, books, nail kits, slippers and stationery.

United Way’s Meals on Wheels program serves more than 800 meals a day to homebound seniors and disabled individuals throughout Jefferson County. In Jefferson County alone, there are 129,800 residents who struggle with hunger. Meals on Wheels provides essential support that helps seniors remain independent and live in their own homes. Click here for information on volunteer opportunities; or to make a donation, please click here.