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Program delivers gifts to lonely, needy seniors

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By The Staff

This season, holiday shoppers in Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Española can give cheer to area seniors by participating in the Be A Santa To A Senior program.
The Los Alamos community has an opportunity to help local senior citizens.
Home Instead Senior Care is teaming up with nonprofit agencies and area retailers to sponsor Be A Santa To A Senior — a program that collects, wraps and delivers gifts to lonely and needy seniors in Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Española.
The program runs through Dec. 18. Important dates of note are as follows:
At 1 p.m. Dec. 19, there will be a community gift-wrapping party at the Mary Esther Gonzales Senior Center, 1121 Alto St. in Santa Fe. The public is welcome.
The need to make difference in the life of a local senior is large this year.
For more information about the local program, visit beasantatoasenior.com.
The program — run by the local Home Instead Senior Care office in partnership with City of Santa Fe Division of Senior Services and Santa Fe Care Center, area retailers, volunteers and members of the community — helps ensure isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship during the holidays. This can be a difficult time for many, especially those who live alone, or have lost spouses and loved ones.
An estimated 27 percent of people 65 and older (10.8 million people) are widowed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Further, the Administration on Aging reports about 28 percent (11.8 million) non-institutionalized people 65 and older live alone.
Retailers participating in Be A Santa To A Senior will display Christmas trees until Dec. 18 that feature ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests. Holiday shoppers can pick an ornament from these trees, buy the items listed and return them unwrapped to the store, with the ornament attached.
Be A Santa To A Senior trees will be located at the following locations:
• Betty Ehart Senior Center, 1101 Bathtub Row in Los Alamos and three locations in Santa Fe:
• Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, 455 St. Michaels Drive;
• Walmart, 3251 Cerrillos Road
• Walmart, 5701 Herrera Drive
The local Home Instead Senior Care office will enlist volunteers from its staff, senior-care business associates, nonprofit workers and others to collect, wrap and distribute the gifts to local seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.
“Be A Santa To A Senior gives back to older adults in our area, many of whom have had significant, positive influence on our lives,” said Chico Marquez, owner at the local Home Instead Senior Care office. “During this season of giving, we encourage shoppers to buy a little extra to say thank you to these community members.”
For more information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call 471-2777.