Central Oregon’s ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ program returns

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A year after Christmas tree tags were turned into Amazon orders, Central Oregon’s Be a Santa to a Senior program returns to its traditional gift-giving methods.

The Home Instead program supports older adults who may be overlooked, isolated or alone during the holiday season.

This is an annual local program that gives back to older adults and reminds them they are cherished by our community. The gifts collected, which are often necessity items such as toiletries, clothing, and blankets, make a big impact and help area seniors combat the holiday blues.

“We’ve all experienced feelings of loneliness during the pandemic, and seniors are at a particularly high risk for isolation,” said Jonathan Mack, owner of the Bend Home Instead office. “Be a Santa to a Senior shows the older adults in our community that they are valued and thought of during the holidays.”

This year, Home Instead is partnering with the Council on Aging, Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, and Hospice of Redmond to provide gifts to as many as 600 seniors in the area.

With the continued safety of seniors, donors and volunteers top of mind, the community can participate in this year’s program through Dec. 24.

Individuals can visit one of the participating locations listed below and look for the Be a Santa to a Senior tree on display from Nov. 15 – Dec. 24.

Each tree will be decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and gift suggestions. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift, and return it unwrapped to the store with the ornament attached.

Home Instead will also collect monetary donations to purchase gifts which will be delivered to seniors who might otherwise be overlooked this year.

Donations can be made through the Home Instead Charities at  www.homeinsteadfoundation.org/donate-now or mailed to Home Instead at 13323 California St. Omaha, NE 68154.

“A small act of kindness can make a big difference. And a heartfelt gift brightens the lives of older adults who may feel alone during the season,” said Mack. “Finding ways to care and support one another is important now more than ever and we are grateful for the community’s involvement every year.”

Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found at the following locations:

·       Bangers & Brews East – 1492 NE Cushing Dr. #140, Bend

·       Bangers & Brews West – 1288 SW Simpson Ave. Suite A, Bend

·       Bend Senior Center – 1600 SE Reed Market Rd., Bend

·       Doubletree by Hilton Hotel – 300 NW Franklin Ave., Bend

·       Foundry Four Coffee + Whiskey – 129 NW 4th St., Prineville

·       Fred Meyer – 944 SW Veterans Way, Redmond

·       Fred Meyer – 61535 S Hwy 97, Bend

·       La Pine Ace Hardware – 51615 Huntington Rd., La Pine

·       La Pine Senior Center – 16450 Victory Way, La Pine

·       Partners in Care – 2075 NE Wyatt Ct., Bend

·       Prineville Soroptimists Senior Center – 180 NE Belknap St, Prineville

·       Redmond Senior Center – 325 NW Dogwood Ave., Redmond

·       Sister Chamber of Commerce – 291 E Main Ave, Sisters

Since the program’s inception 18 years ago, Be a Santa to a Senior has helped provide more than 2 million gifts to over 750,000 seniors in North America and attracted upwards of 65,000 volunteers.

Gifts will be delivered to seniors in time for the holidays. Shoppers are encouraged to purchase as many gifts for seniors as they would like.

If you have a passion for giving back and helping seniors, visit https://www.homeinstead.com/home-care-jobs to learn more about becoming a CAREGiver.

From personal care and companionship to transportation and meal preparation, compassionate CAREGivers allow seniors to remain in their homes.

For more information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com.

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