NORTH CANTON Many local schools, companies and individuals will be reaching out to help others during the next few months to help make the holidays brighter for those in need.
Home Instead Senior Care in North Canton is one of those companies that is doing what it can to help others through its Be a Santa to a Senior program.
Through the Be a Santa to a Senior program, which is in its eighth year, Home Instead collects and then hands out gifts to seniors who are living alone or isolated from others.
The Be a Santa to a Senior gift giving Christmas trees will be located in four locations beginning Nov. 16 and will be accepting gifts through Dec. 12. Susan Mansfield, community service representative with Home Instead, said the gifts are delivered to seniors living in area nursing homes and other facilities throughout Stark County.
"Last year, we collected over 200 gifts and delivered to 15 facilities," Mansfield said. "We always hope to do more each year. The need is so great and so many of our seniors are lonely and this may be the only gift they receive for the holidays."
People interested in donating a gift can stop by the North Canton Chamber of Commerce or Home Instead, both are located on Main Street in downtown North Canton. Bill and Mary’s Diner on North Main Street and Discount Drug Mart on the corner of Orion and North Main will also have trees with gift request ornaments.
"We are asking persons to stop in one of the four locations to pick up an ornament with a person’s name on it and then return the ornament with the requested gift in a gift bag back to the same tree," Mansfield said. "We prefer the gifts be in a gift bag versus wrapping because the wrapping can get torn during delivery."
The gifts being requested this year are blankets, throws and lap blankets. Mansfield said blankets are the most requested item, so the program is requesting only those type items for gifts this year. She also said they don’t take food or candy as gifts.
"Our goal is to reach as many seniors as possible every year," Mansfield said. "We hope to bring a bit of joy into the lives of the seniors over the holidays. The gifts don’t cost that much money and they make the seniors feel they were thought about over the holiday season."
Mansfield said it’s a great way for local companies and businesses to get involved in a community project. She said many companies have an employee stop in and get ornaments to take back to the office to make it convenient for any employee who wants to give.
"We appreciate the generosity of the community every year," Mansfield said. "We get such a great response and the seniors really enjoy the gifts."