By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
Over a thousand gifts were wrapped and distributed to needy, lonely senior citizens yesterday as the annual Be a Santa to a Senior outreach program came to an end.
Volunteers were joined by third and fourth graders from Friendship Christian School at two Wilson County locations for a wrapping party, where items were organized and neatly packaged to be delivered. Maggie Julian, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Hermitage and Wilson and Smith Counties, said that 2012 was a very successful year for the project. The amount that our community gives is just outstanding, she said. In addition to 1,100 product donations from businesses and individuals, the Lebanon Fire Department supplied a substantial monetary donation.
Julian said that the program was supported by 48 local partners who donated to BASTAS and put up senior ornament trees in their businesses. The first tree was placed at CedarStone Bank in Lebanon, where the wrapping party also took place. Beginning in November, holiday shoppers were asked to select an ornament, purchase the items requested and return the gifts unwrapped to that location.
Item requests included inexpensive toiletries, socks, slippers and blankets, to name a few. They really wanted small, everyday items that most of us take for granted. These are all things that you could pick up at your local drugstore, Julian said.
All one senior man wanted this Christmas was a heater which Julian made sure he got. He had been using his stove to heat his home, she explained, adding that the program is about more than just physical gifts. All of our volunteers spend at least 30 minutes with a senior when they go to deliver gifts. Our program is not just for the financially challenged, it is for the lonely. We just talk with them and offer companionship.
This is the fourth year that Home Instead Senior Care has participated in the program. They have served over 3,500 seniors. We are very excited, Julian said. 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.