An annual program that pairs lonely Winnipeg seniors with Christmas gifts is underway for another holiday season.
Be a Santa to a Senior launched on Wednesday and takes the wishes of seniors and places them on Christmas tree displays from November 14 to December 5.
“Be a Santa to a Senior helps bring comfort and a smile to many seniors. It shows them that people care about them and see them as an important part of the community,” said Julie Donaldson of the Winnipeg Home Instead Senior Care office.
“Social isolation is a concern among seniors and the holidays often intensify feelings of distance and loneliness. When we deliver the gifts and spend some time with them, it makes a big difference.”
Anyone wanting to help out can visit a Be a Santa to a Senior tree at participating locations. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift listed on it and return it to the store wrapped with the ornament attached.
Since the program launched 11 years ago, more than 19,000 gifts have been received.
The holidays are generally a lonely time for seniors who have fewer family members and friends to provide company and care to them. According to recent Statistics Canada data, 1.4 million elderly Canadians reported feeling lonely.
A list of locations to pick up an ornament with a senior’s Christmas wish can be found at beasantawinnipeg.com.