Be A Santa To A Senior This Holiday Season

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)- A program got underway Tuesday (Nov. 18) to help senior citizens in the River Valley who might otherwise be overlooked this holiday season.

“We consider those who are less fortunate who are needing a little extra help, or maybe they don`t have any family members left or anyone to take care of them during the holiday seasons,” Julie Strickland, Community Service Representative at Home Instead Senior Care said.

Those involved with “Be a Santa to a Senior” collect, wrap and deliver gifts to the elderly. For the past seven years, Home Instead has teamed up with the Community Services Clearinghouse and United Federal Credit Unions to sponsor the program.

“We have through the Clearinghouse 61 seniors and through our office about 25, so that`s quite a few that are receiving something this year,” Strickland said.

The following United Federal Credit Union banks are taking part in the cause:
-8900 Jenny Lind Rd., Fort Smith
-5900 Rogers Ave., Fort Smith
-1924 Fayetteville Rd., Van Buren

Those stores have ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ Christmas trees set up. They feature ornaments with the senior’s first name and their holiday wish list. You can come to the participating locations, take an ornament home and purchase the items requested. Then you are asked to return the gifts to the bank unwrapped before Dec. 12.

"A lot of [seniors] request simple things like a robe or house slippers, and we had one lady request an electric skillet, and turns out she didn`t have a stove; she didn`t have an oven, so that was her only means of cooking,” Strickland said.

The program serves seniors in Sebastian, Crawford and Franklin Counties. Home Instead will distribute the gifts on Dec. 18.