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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
With so many older adults living alone and in poverty, some Charlotte area seniors will struggle to make ends meet this holiday season.
Home Instead Senior Care® office has partnered with retailers and community organizations to make sure isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship through the Be a Santa to a Senior® program.
This is the 9th year for the program which has provided for the last eight years 23,000 gifts for 8,500 seniors.
"Seniors faced with medical bills and the high cost of living can find they have little left at the end of the year," said Roberta Farnum, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Mecklenburg County. "That's not the only issue, though. Personal needs may become magnified for so many living alone with no one to share their problems."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9 percent of U.S. seniors 65 and older are living in poverty and 27 percent are widowed. (Click here for U.S. Census information)
With the support of area retailers, volunteers and members of the community, the local Home Instead Senior Care office will collect and distribute gifts to residents and members of Friendship Trays and the Charlotte Housing Authority. These are seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.
The Be a Santa to a Senior program kicks off November 12 and runs through December 14. Christmas trees, which will go up in Dilworth Coffee locations, will feature ornaments with the first names of the seniors and their respective gift requests.
Shoppers will find those trees and ornaments at the following Dilworth Coffee locations:
The Original in Dilworth @ Kenilworth Commons 1235 B East Blvd., Charlotte
Downtown Matthews @ Matthew Station 110 A Matthew Station Street, Matthews
Mint Hill @ Hoods Crossroads 3565 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, Matthews
SouthPark Mall @ Belk SouthPark 4400 Sharon Road, Charlotte
The Shoppes @ Highland Creek 5818 Prosperity Church Road, C-9, Charlotte
Holiday shoppers are asked to pick up an ornament off special Be a Santa to a Senior Christmas trees, buy items on the list and return them wrapped to the store, along with the ornament attached.
The Home Instead Senior Care office will then enlist the volunteer help of its staff and others to deliver the gifts.
"Be a Santa to a Senior is another way to say ‘thank you' to the many seniors who have made such important contributions to our community throughout the years," Farnum said. "Helping a needy older adult can bring fulfillment to the giver as well as the receiver – it does make a difference," she added.
For more information about the program, click here or call 704-344-0801.