BEND, Ore. - This season, holiday shoppers in Central Oregon can give cheer to area seniors by participating in the Be a Santa to a Senior program.
The program – run by the local Home Instead Senior Care office in partnership with Bendbroadband/Zolo Media, COCC Criminal Justice Club, Fox Hollow Independent and Assisted Living, KNLR 97.5 Radio, St. Charles Home Health Services, St. Charles Lifeline, 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. Further, the Administration on Aging reports about 28 percent (11.8 million) non-institutionalized people 65 and older live alone.
Retailers participating in Be a Santa to a Senior will display Christmas trees from Nov. 25 to Dec. 17 that feature ornaments with seniors' first names and their gift requests. Holiday shoppers can pick an ornament from these trees, buy the items listed and return them unwrapped to the store, with the ornament attached.
Be a Santa to a Senior trees will be located at:
- Bend Senior Center? 1600 SE Reed Market Road in Bend
- Erickson's Thriftway - Madras? 561 SW 4th in St?Madras
- Fred Meyer, Bend 61535 S Highway 97 ?in Bend
- Home Instead Senior Care ?497 SW Century Drive, Ste. 102? in Bend
- La Pine Community Health Center ?51600 Huntington Road? in La Pine
- Partners in Care?2075 NE Wyatt Ct.?in Bend
- Ray's Food Place - Sisters?635 N Arrowleaf Trail? in Sisters
- Redmond Senior Center? 325 NW Dogwood Avenue? in Redmond
- Rite Aid - Prineville? 1575 Northeast 3rd Street? in Prineville
- Soroptimist Senior Center - Prineville ?180 NE Belknap Street in Prineville
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. The wrapping party will be held at St. Charles Medical Center at 2500 NE Neff Road, Bend, OR 97701 on December 18th from 4pm to 7pm in the main education rooms.
"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 Todd Sensenbach, owner at 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."