LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nine percent of the nation's senior citizens are living in poverty and 27 percent are widowed, leaving thousands alone during the holidays. But, there's a program making elderly spirits bright this Holiday season.
When spouses have passed and family members visit infrequently, the approaching holiday season may not hold much for some seniors.
"We find that many of them are isolated and lonely, and their families have gone on, and there's a real need for them to have some sort of encouragement during the holidays," said Barbara Taylor, a community service representative.
Many of the people Be a Santa to a Senior help are widowed and family members visit infrequently, and the holidays are a time of year when elderly are often overlooked.
In its eighth year, Home Instead Senior Care in North Little Rock is asking central Arkansans to be a Santa to a senior.
"The simplest of things. From a scarf, to a lap robe, to socks, to personal care items," said Taylor. "The great thing with these is the smallest thing matters. Just something of comfort, of interest. A book, something they can use in their environment. Something they can use right there in the home."
Taylor added that it's the little things that puts a smile on seniors' faces and makes them feel less lonely, and being a Santa to a Senior is easy and inexpensive for those who want to help out this holiday season.
"They go into a local Walgreens, and the holiday shopper picks up one of these. It is tagged to someone coded. Like Mary would like a Lap throw. They would simply pick this off the tree," Taylor explained.
Then the shopper drops the gift back off at Walgreens.
"They're overjoyed and the excitement of someone just coming just to see them. That there was a need there. That it isn't just a general gift. It's something they could really use."
Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found at any Walgreens in Central Arkansas and will be accepting gifts through Dec. 14.