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Be a Santa to a Senior program offers gifts, visits for elderly – Scranton Times

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Anyone can play Santa Claus this year.

Home Instead Senior Care in Clarks Summit is holding its annual Be a Santa to a Senior program. The program benefits needy seniors who don’t have loved ones locally and delivers gifts and a visitor during the holiday season, said Jessica Blomain, director of client services at Home Instead Senior Care in Clarks Summit.

“It’s so important not to forget seniors this time of year, especially the seniors who don’t have visitors or that much themselves,” Blomain said.

Over about 15 years, thousands of gifts and visits have been delivered via Be a Santa to a Senior. About 250 seniors in Lackawanna County are in the program this year. Home Instead worked with Serving Seniors Inc., Meals on Wheels of NEPA and Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging to identify people to include in the program. Volunteers and people who work with those agencies will deliver the gifts, Blomain said.

The program works like this: Those who wish to buy a gift for a senior enrolled in the program can visit a Be a Santa to a Senior tree located at the Home Instead offices, 506 N. State St., Clarks Summit, or the Abington Community Library, 1200 Grove St., Clarks Summit.

The trees are decorated with paper ornaments that have the senior’s first name and a desired gift. Shoppers can take the ornament, buy the requested gift and then return the wrapped gift to the tree location with the ornament attached.

Those who wish to buy a gift must do so by Dec. 11. All gifts will be delivered by Christmas Eve.

“Research suggests that feelings of loneliness can have a real effect on both mental and physical health. The holidays are a prime time for many people to feel lonely, and that may be especially true for seniors who cannot travel from their homes or have lost their support network,” Robert Vielee, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care offices in Clarks Summit, said in a statement. “With Be a Santa to a Senior, we are able to bring them some comfort through a thoughtful gift that they might not otherwise receive. But, more importantly, we deliver those gifts with a warm, friendly face and kind words to remind them that their community cares about them.”

Contact the writer:

cover@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5363;

@ClaytonOver on Twitter

Article source: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/be-a-santa-to-a-senior-program-offers-gifts-visits-for-elderly-1.2272583

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