'Secret Santas' for Bend seniors play special role

Assistance League of Bend spreads holiday cheer

Bend seniors have secret Santas

Bend, Ore. - When it comes to helping those in need at the holidays, many think of kids. The Assistance League of Bend, one of our 21 cares for kids partners, knows seniors need holiday cheer, too.

The organization gives Secret Santa gifts to people at eight senior homes in Bend. The gifts go to those on Medicaid, or who don't have family.

The Assistance League gets wish lists from each residence, so they're able to get specific presents for people. Assistance League members buy the presents with their own money.

"I remember one year, one of the ladies was given a beautiful scarf, and we were told later that she took that into her room and sat down on her bend and was just stroking the scarf," said Lena Hartshorn, chairperson for the Assistance League of Bend's senior caring programs.

"You know, it just makes you feel like, 'Hey, what we are doing is worthwhile and we have made someone happy.'"

This year, the Assistance League gave gifts to 110 senior citizens.

Along with the Secret Santa gifts at Christmas, the organization delivers hygiene baskets throughout the year, providing necessities for those who don't have the money to buy these items on their own, or don't have the means to go get them.

The Assistance League of Bend is a 21 Cares for Kids partner. To learn more, visit

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