As the Christmas season gets underway, and many of us are thinking of tiny tots with their eyes all aglow, Gianna Loftis of Lantana is looking in a different direction.
Loftis learned about a program called “Be a Santa to a Senior” two years ago and decided to implement the program at her place of business, Home Instead Senior Care of Denton County.
“Home Instead puts on this program in every state and every city,” Loftis said. “What we do is we focus on trying to help the most needy of the seniors out there that are the most isolated and don’t usually have family that visit them on Christmas.
“We partner with non-profit organizations like Meals on Wheels and nursing homes that have seniors that don’t have any family members, and we ask those entities to come up with a list of names and one or two little gift requests.”
Home Instead Senior Care of Denton County provided more than 100 presents to seniors in its first year of the program and over 250 last year.
Loftis said the goal for this year is to collect 500 gifts, which will be distributed to roughly 300 senior citizens.
“This is our way of giving back to the community,” Loftis said. “We do home care for seniors, and most of the seniors that we serve are not as needy. We wanted a way to give back to the community to those individuals that cannot afford us.”
Loftis said one of her favorite memories involved a visit she made while delivering some gifts for the Be a Santa to a Senior program.
“There was one lady who lived in a very poor part of Denton in a very, very small house,” Loftis said. “She couldn’t even open up her door. She didn’t have enough money to fix her door, so she would open up a little window to answer people that came to her door.
“She opened up that little window and saw that we had gifts, and she said ‘well who are you and why are you bringing me gifts?’ We told her who we were and she just started crying and said ‘I’ll have nobody coming to see me over Christmas. This is the only thing I’ll get this entire Christmas season.’ That just touched my heart.”
Be a Santa to a Senior is accepting donations of gifts, as well as looking for volunteers to help wrap and deliver the presents.
Loftis said her company has raised about 60 gifts as of Dec. 1, and has until Dec. 15 to reach their goal of 500 gifts.
The program will have a gift-wrapping session at 1 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the senior center in Highland Village, and Loftis invites anyone who would like to come out and help to do so.
Gift requests can be picked up on Christmas trees at the City Hall in Highland Village, the Lewisville Senior Center and the Flower Mound Senior Center.
Contact Home Instead Senior Care at (972) 317-0900 for more information on the program.