Dianna Patton, Fiona Vandenberg and Erica Eriks wrap Christmas presents for Home Instead’s Be a Santa for a Senior program. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Dianna Patton, Fiona Vandenberg and Erica Eriks wrap Christmas presents for Home Instead’s Be a Santa for a Senior program. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Lonely South Surrey-White Rock seniors to receive gifts from community

Home Instead organizes 10th annual Be a Santa for a Senior program

Semiahmoo Peninsula seniors who would otherwise be spending the holidays alone are to receive a gift of compassion from residents of the community.

The Be a Santa to a Senior program – now in its 10th year and organized by Home Instead Senior Care – connects isolated or low-income seniors with presents purchased by members of the community.

Leading up to Christmas, the seniors created a wish list, which was attached to Christmas trees located in businesses in Surrey, White Rock and Langley. Generous residents picked a wish list off the tree and returned with a present.

The Seniors Come Share Society recommended a list of seniors for the program, who remain anonymous, apart from their first name. This year, 57 seniors enrolled in the program.

“Some of the wishes, it would break your heart,” Home Instead representative Laurie McPherson said. “You know, we have a fellow this year, he asked for bars of soap and Kleenex, and that was his wish list. It really breaks your heart.”

McPherson said the group contributed a little extra to that senior’s particular gift, including soap, Kleenex, chocolates, Christmas cookies and blankets.

“His box is full,” she said.

Once the presents are prepared, Home Instead volunteers deliver the gifts to the seniors.

“I’ve done it in the past, it’s just amazing. People are so happy and a lot of times, more than the gifts, they love to have someone come in and have a little visit with them,” McPherson said.

Although Home Instead provides non-medical care to seniors, including helping them stay independent and live in their own home, the Be a Santa to Senior participants are not clients of the organization, McPherson said.