Home Instead has partnered with Amazon for this year’s annual “Be a Santa to a Senior” event to help bring Christmas to seniors in a safe way for both seniors and their donors.

Home Instead is an international network of caregivers that help provide care, support and education to seniors and their families.

The franchise began its “Be a Santa to a Senior” program in 2003 as a way to “give back to seniors in need,” said Owensboro and Henderson Home Instead branch owner Stephen Bryson.

Bryson said the Owensboro and Henderson branches opened in 2010 and began implementing the program at those locations that same year, starting with 25 seniors. Last year, after a decade into the program, Bryson said the two branches sponsored about 1,000 seniors.

Since the beginning of the program in 2003, the Home Instead franchise has provided approximately 2.1 million gifts to 750,000 seniors nationwide.

“Every year, this is a great opportunity for seniors, not to only get things that they need, food and clothes and blankets and stuff like that,” Bryson said. “This year has posed interesting challenges that we have not had in years past, so I’m not entirely sure how many seniors we’re going to sponsor this year, but we’ve got multiple ways to do that.”

According to Bryson, Home Instead has partnered with Amazon this year to allow those wishing to donate to order gifts online with a personalized gift tag and have them sent to seniors in need. Or if members of the community would rather buy gifts themselves, they can visit one of three tree locations in the area between now and Dec. 8 to choose an ornament and fulfill a gift request for a local senior. Those trees are at Walmart at 5031 Frederica St. in Owensboro as well as Home Instead Branch locations on 4026 Frederica St. in Owensboro or 226 N. Elm St. in Henderson.

The trees will be up through Dec. 14 and are decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and gift suggestions. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it unwrapped to the Walmart store or Home Instead branches with the ornament attached.

To purchase gifts online, donors can visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com and enter their zip code to view wish lists for seniors in their area.

Some recommended gift options include non-perishable food items, toiletries, blankets, tissues, puzzle books and non-slip house shoes and socks.

Tree displays at drop-off locations will be up through Dec. 14.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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