DENVER — A program that provides holiday cheer to lonely or low-income seniors is celebrating its 20th year.
As part of its Be a Santa to a Senior program, Home Instead Senior Care partners with local businesses and families to deliver gifts to seniors. Some of the business sponsors include Romano's Pizzeria and Addison Auto.
Participating businesses have a tree that features paper ornaments with wishlists from each senior. After purchasing items from the wishlist, participants bring the gifts to the store so they can be delivered.
"They can kind of be forgotten about at times, and we just want to keep that from happening," said Kaylan Self, general manager of Home Instead.
Self said many seniors can't travel during the holidays or are in care homes. The gifts not only provide for their needs but also help seniors enjoy the holiday spirit.
"I got a call from somebody this morning that we dropped a gift off to, and she was surprised," said Self. "You could just hear the happiness in her voice."
The group has collected gifts for 46 seniors so far, with plans for more than 200. Self and consultant Kimberly Rosene have packed up several carloads of presents and will continue to deliver them through Christmas Day.
“I saw one of the seniors receive his gift, and it was some bed sheets — something he truly desperately needed," said Rosene. "It brought tears to my eyes just seeing him get so excited and happy over bed sheets.”
Be a Santa to a Senior gifts will be collected through December 25. To find businesses participating in the program, click here.