By Greg Ellison
(Nov. 18, 2021) After collecting a bumper crop of donations in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic, the annual “Be a Santa to a Senior” holiday outreach program coordinated by Home Instead Senior Care in Berlin is again soliciting gifts through Dec. 8.
Home Care Consultant Crystal Heiser said “Be a Santa to a Senior” Christmas trees are on display at numerous locations in Worcester and Wicomico counties, including the Ocean Pines Community Center.
Since 2016, the OPA has worked with Home Instead on the yuletide venture to provide senior citizens with cheer and help at Christmas.
Heiser said the program addresses needs for homebound seniors or assisted living residents in Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties.
The senior-focused Christmas trees are filled with tags listing specific items requested by local residents.
“We call our tree ornaments hosts,” she said.
Heiser said Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners Corrie and Don Boger have participated in the charitable venture since opening the location nearly a half dozen years ago.
After collecting upwards of 700 donations in 2020, Heiser said the mark is set a bit higher for 2021.
“Our goal for this year is 800,” she said.
Gift requests are typically low-cost basic need items.
“We try to keep it very simple,” she said.
In addition to snack baskets, warm clothing and gift cards, Heiser said an often overlooked item are socks.
“We never have enough socks,” she said. “Soft blankets are huge.”
Organizers request gift items be returned to the site of origin no later than Dec. 8.
“We just ask that they return it either in a gift bag or box,” she said. “Whatever is simple for them so it can be wrapped and all ready to go.”
Heiser said Home Instead senior trees are also on display at the Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce, Shorebird Stadium and Apple Drug locations in Fruitland, Snow Hill and Salisbury.
“We get names from the Worcester County Commission on Aging,” she said.
Heiser said Avery Hall Insurance in Salisbury has a tree being supported by employees.
Meals on Wheels recipients are also targeted for the outreach, Heiser said.
“I spend about two weeks picking up the packages and delivering them to the site,” she said.
For more information contact Home Instead in Berlin at 410-641-0901.