H-SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

Dec 2, 2010 9:41 PM by Ariel Wesler

Organization donates gifts to seniors in need

A local organization is asking for your help in bringing a little joy to some Central Coast seniors this year.

Home Instead Senior Care is hosting its sixth annual "Be a Santa to a Senior" program for San Luis Obispo County. It helps distribute gifts to seniors who can't leave their homes. This year, the organization says the need has grown.

Santa paid Martha Dear of Nipomo an early visit this holiday season. She is 102 years old and relies on her niece to get around.

I could get out sometimes, but it's hard for me to go up and down the steps," Martha said.

There are about a thousand seniors in San Luis Obispo county, just like Martha and that's why Home Instead Senior Care started the program.

To help out a Central Coast senior this holiday season, simply stop by any participating location and pick up a paper ornament. On it are a list of gifts that you can purchase and simply return to the same location

Organizers say the need this year among seniors is up about 30 percent from just last year. They hope to donate about 300 gifts--most these days are necessities, but mean much more.

"A lot of it might be slippers or candy, or lotion, robes, blankets, hats. That kind of thing," said Marianne Buckmeyer, Community Service Director for Home Instead Senior Care.

Volunteers then wrap the gifts and give them to senior centers who distribute the items to seniors who can't leave their homes. Many are just glad someone is thinking of them.

"Why would anyone who doesn't know me want to give me a gift, but it was sure a nice surprise," Martha said.

She says her present is a reminder of the people behind it.

"I love the gift itself, but the thought means so much. The thought is the meaning. That's what makes it worth while."

In Santa Barbara County, Unity Shoppe distributes more than 5000 gifts to seniors in need. They say the need there has grown about 10 percent this year.

For more information on where you can pick up the ornaments, click here.

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