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Don’t forget elderly this holiday – News

Upon entering Cosentino’s Price Chopper in St. Joseph, you may notice a Christmas tree by some of the registers, adorned with paper ornaments. Standing next to it is a sign for the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program.

Home Instead Senior Care has teamed up with the grocery store to help seniors who may be struggling over the holidays.

“This is a way to reach out to those seniors that are either lonely, isolated or financially challenged,” Brent Hoffart, owner of Home Instead Senior Care, said. “It’s a very meaningful program, because, many times, seniors don’t have the means to travel to family or they don’t have family within reach. This is a way to brighten their holidays a bit.”

Hoffart explained that isolation can lead to mental and physical decline, so providing seniors with gifts during the holidays is a great way to reach out and prevent that lonely feeling.

Home Instead Senior Care has partnered with Northwest Health Services, InterServ, the Chamber of Commerce and Northwest Professionals on Aging in order to collect names of seniors who would benefit from the program. Those names are transferred to paper ornaments that are placed on a Christmas tree — in this case, the one located in Price Chopper — along with a small list of gifts that senior may enjoy. Patrons can purchase these items and return them to Price Chopper, where the gifts will be gathered and wrapped before Christmas to give to recipients.

The gifts include towels, gift baskets, pajamas and word-search puzzles, though Hoffart said the best part is seeing the seniors’ reactions.

“The gifts are nice, but ultimately it’s not the gifts that matter the most; it’s the interactions, it’s the smiles that you bring about, and you really bring a brightness to the holidays,” he said. “It’s just very rewarding to see the glow of the seniors when you deliver those gifts.”

Located across the street from Home Instead, Price Chopper was an obvious choice for the program, though Hoffart hopes the program grows to more locations in the future.

“Price Chopper’s our neighbor, they’re right across the street. They’ve always been very friendly and good to work with,” Hoffart said. “As we grow, we may expand throughout St. Joseph and have trees elsewhere.”

Home Instead still is collecting names of seniors for the tree and will be accepting gifts at Price Chopper until Friday, Dec. 8.

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