The holiday season is in full swing, but sometimes an important segment of our population gets forgotten amidst all the holiday cheer.
A program called "Be Santa to a Senior" is making sure local seniors struggling with poverty and loneliness feel loved and care for this time of year.
Lee Harrell with Home Instead Senior Care joined Donna Bell Wednesday morning with more on what we can do to help.
The area office of the Home Instead Senior Care network, the world's largest provider of non-medical in-home care and companionship services for older adults, is joining Patronis Elementary School, Northside Elementary School, Highland Park Elementary School, 325 Civil Engineering Squad from Tyndall Air Force Base and Wal-Mart to provide gifts to seniors who otherwise might not receive them.
"Seniors faced with medical bills and the high cost of living can find they have little left at the end of the year," said Lee Harrell, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Bay, Jackson, Holmes, Washington, Calhoun, Liberty, Franklin and Gulf Counties. "That's not the only issue, though. Personal needs may become magnified for so many living alone with no one to share their problems."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9% of U.S. seniors 65 and older are living in poverty and 27% are widowed.
Here's how to help these struggling seniors: pick up ornaments with the first names of seniors and their gift requests from Christmas trees, which will be up at Wal-Mart stores at the beach, in Callaway, and in Lynn Haven.
Buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store by December 14th, along with the ornaments attached.