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How gift giving touches the lives of seniors

In 2006, Be a Santa to a Senior volunteers visited a local nursing facility and distributed gifts to a number of residents, including one 87-year-old woman whom we'll call Mary. She was pleased to receive her gift and thanked us profusely, but it wasn't until we returned to give Mary another gift in 2007 that we recognized the true value of Be a Santa to a Senior.

When we entered Mary's room for our second visit, we noticed that the only card on her bulletin board was the  Be a Santa to a Senior card from the previous year. As we spoke with her caregivers we found out that our Christmas card and gift were the only items she had received throughout the year. Mary re-read the card regularly to help keep that memory alive.

Each year Home Instead Senior Care® offices throughout North America spread holiday cheer to lonely or financially-challenged seniors through the Be a Santa to a Senior program. The program has attracted upwards of 60,000 volunteers over the past six years distributing gifts to deserving seniors. Since introducing the Be a Santa to a Senior program, Home Instead Senior Care has helped provide 1.2 million gifts to more than 700,000 seniors.

Since the program began in 2003, there have been over…