In the News

Be a Santa to a Senior on the Central Coast

Original posted on KEYT.com


Learn where you can find gift requests for seniors

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. - A few years ago, seniors Carolyn Goodson and Maria Mynatt had given up hope on having a good Christmas.

"[Because] you don't have your family and I believe in families," Goodson said.

"Think about how you would feel when you get older and you have been forgotten or pushed aside," said Mynatt.

Now they know someone will be thinking of them thanks to the be a Santa to a Senior program.

Representatives like Brittany Venia from People's Self Help Housing help sign seniors up to receive gifts.

"We have a team of social workers that go out into our affordable senior rental properties and we've interviewed our residents - found out who's going to be home for the holidays alone and could really use a little holiday spirit. This year we've signed up close to two hundred residents," Venia explained.

Using the information collected by People's Self Help Housing, Meals that Connect and the Seniors Nutrition Program, Home Instead Senior Care in Grover Beach helps create ornaments to go up on trees in businesses on the Central Coast.

"It's best part of the holidays. I love it. There's so many giving and needing programs in our community but I really love that we don't forget our seniors," said Gina Perrault of Home Instead Senior Care.

Robin Adkins works at SLO Smiles, a dental office that's been collecting gifts through the be a Santa to a Senior program for the past several years.

"Every year our patients look forward to it. We start taking calls around October 31st saying when is the tree gonna be here? The staff loves to participate [and] we all feel like it just puts us in the mood for the holidays," Adkins says.

Once the businesses collect their gifts, Home Instead Senior Care helps coordinate the gift wrapping and their deliveries.

"Oh it's amazing - last year we got about 200 gifts to hand out to our seniors and this year it's actually doubled," Perrault said.

For seniors Caroyln and Maria, these gifts make all the difference in the world.

"I would like to meet some time some of these people that are getting the gifts to give to us to say thank you to them. I mean look at us here. we're seniors and they're thinking about us," Goodson said.

"I think when anybody gifts you something and thinks about you you feel really special.. you feel like somebody cares," Mynatt said.

If you'd like to participate in buying a gift for a local senior, you have until December 15th.