Initiative focuses on seniors for Christmas

Published 3:54 pm Thursday, December 1, 2016

More than a 100 seniors will receive gifts from a “secret Santa” as part of a local business’s initiative to give back for the holidays.

Real estate agency Coldwell Banker McMahan Co. is asking the community to adopt a senior for “Santa’s Seniors.”

The program provides seniors in assisted living or nursing facilities with gifts from a wish list to Santa.

The wish lists are hung on a tree int he Coldwell Banker office, located at 920 Bypass Road. Members of the community are asked to select a senior’s list, purchase and wrap the gifts, attached the wish list and return them by Dec. 12 to be delivered to the seniors.

Delores Willis, office coordinator, and Brianna Henry, bookkeeper, have spearheaded the local effort, which is in it’s second year.

“We had a realtor with our company last year, who has since left, that came up with the idea,” Willis said. “Since she left, we wanted to continue the project because it was so well-received last year.”

Last year, gifts were given to about 100 residents at Fountain Circle Care and Rehab.

“The activities director brought the names back this year and said they seniors and employees were blown away last year with the response,” Willis said. “Our office was full of presents. The response was so high that we ran out of names to hand out.”

Because of the response last year, the team decided to add patients in the Transitional Care Unit at Clark Regional Medical Center to the tree.

“The seniors last year were really shocked to see that people actually bought the things they had asked for,” Willis said. “They don’t ask for a lot. Some of the things are just  basic needs like hygiene products. Some of the ladies ask for dolls. They might ask for coats, robes or pajamas, things like that.”

About 130 seniors are on the tree this year. As of Wednesday, about 75 seniors were left on the tree, Willis said, and they can be picked up as long as they are available.

Willis said it’s nice to focus on a group of people who are often overlooked.

“Children are very important for Christmas and Christmas is all about the children,” she said. “But we felt that this was one age group that’s been left out. According to their activities director, there are a lot of seniors who don’t have any support and we just want to be a force for them. We also try to help them out with needs throughout the year, too.

“We just feel that some of them fall through the cracks and we don’t want them to be forgotten.”

Henry said the community support has been humbling

“It was really amazing the support we got from the community last year,” she said. “To know that the seniors really enjoyed it and to hear that they were tickled to death with their gifts makes it worth. It was an awesome experience last year and we just wanted to keep it up.”

The Georgetown office of Coldwell Banker is also participating to collect gifts for about 54 seniors at Signature Health Care in Georgetown, Henry said.

For more information about Santa’s Seniors or to inquire about picking a senior, contact Willis or Henry at 744-1400.

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

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