Crow Wing Energized: Still time to be a Santa to a Senior
The Brainerd Home Instead office coordinates this program locally, but its success comes directly from the community. This year, there are 919 names of seniors on area trees.
Be a Santa To A Senior is in its 14th year in the Brainerd lakes area community.
This program was created by Home Instead Inc. to aim to serve those in need during the holiday season, which can be a lonely and isolating time for some older adults. Be a Santa to a Senior is carried out in hundreds of Home Instead offices across the nation.
The Brainerd Home Instead office coordinates this program locally, but its success comes directly from the community. Local businesses, assisted living sites, nursing homes, community centers, county services, churches and many other groups in the area nominate local seniors to receive a gift. This year we have 919 names!
On Nov.28, 2022 all of those names were put out in the community in the form of ornaments on trees at local businesses including:
- Associates in Eyecare, Baxter,
- Big Stone Therapies, Baxter,
- Black Bear Lodge, Baxter,
- Brainerd City Hall, Brainerd,
- Brainerd Public Utilities, Brainerd,
- Caribou Coffee, Brainerd,
- Caribou Coffee and Bagels, Baxter,
- Crow Wing County Social Services, Brainerd,
- Edward Jones-Greg Benett, Brainerd,
- Frandsen Bank, Crosslake,
- GuidePoint Pharmacy, Brainerd,
- Home Instead, Baxter,
- Nor-Son, Baxter,
- Riverwood Bank, Baxter,
- The Center, Brainerd.
Community Members can pick up an ornament, purchase the gift and bring it back to the tree location wrapped before Dec. 12.
Home Instead will then collect all the gifts and get them organized for delivery day on Dec. 20. Delivery day is made up of over 50 volunteers who pick up gifts in the Home Instead office and deliver each gift to the senior’s home.
Delivering the gift to a local senior is nothing but heartwarming. It provides a personal visit, a thoughtful gift and the senior learns that someone in their community has thought about them this holiday season.
It has truly been a joy to watch this program grow over the years and continue to expand our reach by touching more and more seniors in the Brainerd lakes area. There are many hands that make this possible and we continue to incorporate volunteers and groups. This year we have partnered with Pillager School District, Pequot Lakes School District, Pine River School District, and daycares to provide handmade cards/pictures to attach to each gift. This way each senior will receive a little someone extra from a child in their community.
When I reflect on the goal of Be A Santa To A Senior I think about the impact that an unexpected visit and nice gesture can have on anyone’s day. To know that there are older adults in our community that feel lonely and isolated year-round, but I am sure that during the holidays this feeling is magnified. A personal visitor bringing a gift that someone in your community bought just for you, it’s a simple task that can bring some light and joy into their home. And while many hands are involved, the simplicity of providing a gift to someone deserving, just because, isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?
To learn more about our program and how you can get involved visit www.beasantatoasenior.com/loc/551 or call us at 218-824-0077.
Lastly, we want to thank the Brainerd lakes area community from the bottom of our hearts for participating in Be A Santa To A Senior for 14 years. Thank you to the people who nominate seniors, the businesses that host trees, the community members that purchase the gifts and the volunteers that deliver. We, at Home Instead, are so very grateful for your participation. Merry Christmas!