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Anyone can be a Santa for a needy senior citizen

December 8, 2011
Special to the Town Crier
Be a Santa to a Senior, the popular campaign that delivered gifts to more than 700 local needy seniors last year, is being planned again this holiday season as older adults continue to struggle during tough economic times.   

The area office of Home Instead Senior Care has partnered with Sterling House Brookdale Living and Clare Bridge Cottage, Paisley House, Visiting Nurse Association, Hands on Volunteers, Catholic Charities, SCOPE, Guardian Angels, Valley Renaissance, Youngstown Metropolitan Housing, Senior Center of Mahoning County, Mahoning County Senior Service Unit and Autumn Hills Health Care to provide gifts and companionship to seniors who otherwise might not receive either this holiday season.

“Many older adults continue to face a difficult economic climate, particularly those who live alone with no family nearby to help provide resources,” said Carol Hitchcock, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. Seniors have faced a trying year amid the threat of Social Security payment delays as part of the debt-ceiling debate. What’s more, seniors have lost 32 percent of their buying power since 2000, according to the Annual Survey of Senior Costs from The Senior Citizens League.

That’s where Be a Santa to a Senior can help. Before the holiday season, the participating local nonprofit organizations will identify needy and isolated seniors in the community and provide those names to the local Home Instead Senior Care office. Christmas trees featuring ornaments with the first names of the seniors and their gift requests are up in Wal-Mart in Boardman, Curves in Austintown, Boardman and Canfield, and Optiview in Austintown, now through Dec. 8.

Holiday shoppers can pick up an ornament, buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store, along with the ornament attached. “We hope holiday shoppers will open their hearts to those seniors who have given so much to make our community a better place,” Hitchcock said.

For more information about the program, visit


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