‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ program picks up steam locally

Published 7:55 am Friday, November 17, 2017

Since 2006, residents have utilized resources provided by Home Instead Senior Care to make sure seniors have an enjoyable Christmas season.

The local office, which services Johnson City, Greeneville, Elizabethton and Erwin, is continuing to see strides made during its annual “Be a Santa to a Senior” campaign.

“We continue to see increased support for the program,” Melanie Bowman, home care consultant for Home Instead Senior Care in Johnson City, told the Elizabethton Star Thursday morning. “In Elizabethton, the program has really grown in popularity. We’ve been able to add new stores, like Lowe’s, and we’ve seen even more feedback from the public and stores.”

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Roughly 1,200 items are purchased for seniors from Washington, Carter, Unicoi, Greene counties and in Southwest Virginia, according to Home Instead. Locally, Bowman indicated the program has already seen approximately 600 items get purchased for seniors.

In Carter County, residents can visit either Northeast Credit Community Union near Elizabethton High School, Lowe’s or the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library to visit a tree and pick a senior to shop for during the Christmas season. The deadline for gift purchases is Wednesday, Dec. 6.

Each tree is decorated with paper ornaments including the seniors’ first names and their desired gifts, Bowman said. Once a gift is purchased, participants are encouraged to return it to the tree’s location with the ornament attached.

Bowman added the there is no need to wrap the presents due to volunteers and program partners handling the work.

“We will use the time after the deadline to get the gifts ready for delivery,” she said, adding that presents will be delivered near Christmas.

“We’re excited to get started and see the tree ornaments turn into meaningful gifts and interactions that can make a real impact on seniors’ quality of life this holiday season,” Bowman added. “We know there are a variety of gift initiatives out there, and are so grateful to have our partners and community come together to support this important cause that will bring some much-needed holiday spirit to many of our senior neighbors.”

Volunteer opportunities are also available for individuals wanting to assist with wrapping and delivery, Bowman said. Interested participants can contact Bowman by calling (423) 483-8303.

Locations for “Be a Santa to a Senior in Northeast Tennessee include:

  • Takoma Regional Hospital  401 Takoma Avenue, Greeneville
  • Greene County Drug, 906 Tusculum Boulevard, Greeneville
  • Woodridge Hospital, 403 N. State of Franklin Road, Johnson City
  • Franklin Woods Community Hospital, 300 Med Tech Parkway, Johnson City
  • Burke’s Outlet, 1317 Tusculum Blvd., Greeneville
  • Johnson City Seniors’ Center, 510 Bert St, Johnson City
  • Barnes and Noble, 3030 Franklin Terrace, Johnson City
  • Jonesborough Senior Center, 307 E Main St., Jonesborough
  • Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, 201 N Sycamore St, Elizabethton
  • Lowe’s Home Improvement, 925 Patriot Drive, Elizabethton
  • Home Instead Senior Care, 1114 Sunset Drive, Johnson City
  • Over Mountain Recovery, 203 Gray Commons Circle, Gray
  • Northeast Community Credit Union, 980 Jason Witten Way, Elizabethton