Seniors

Caribou hosting Secret Santa gift drive for local senior citizens

CARIBOU, Maine — Homebound seniors in Caribou will have more reasons to smile this Christmas thanks to Age Friendly Caribou’s second Senior Santa project.

From now until Dec. 17, residents are invited to pick up one or more ornaments from Caribou Wellness & Recreation Center’s Christmas tree and purchase the suggested gifts listed on the backs of the ornaments.

Featured gifts will include clothing, games, blankets, puzzles and other household or entertainment items. Once people finish their shopping, they can bring the unwrapped gifts back to the Wellness Center tree.

Volunteers from Aroostook Agency on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program will deliver the first round of gifts to meal recipients on Dec. 14. Other volunteers from the Agency and Age Friendly Caribou will deliver the remaining gifts on Dec. 20.

Age Friendly Caribou coordinator Elizabeth Singer said that the group hopes to surpass last year’s gift total of 200 presents. Although there are 150 ornaments on the tree, volunteers can pick up more than one ornament or buy more than one gift for the same ornament.

“We had such a great response last year that we were able to add residents [of local senior apartments and nursing homes] to the list,” Singer said. “We’re hoping to do the same thing this year.”

Many seniors who will receive presents are often unable to leave their homes due to age-related limitations or do not have family in the area to celebrate the holidays with, Singer said.

With the Senior Santa project, the volunteers hope to spread more holiday cheer to those who might need it most.

“Isolation has always been an issue for older adults, and it’s been worse with the pandemic,” Singer said. “We wanted to let them know that we’re thinking of them and give them a little Christmas cheer.”

Anyone who wishes to volunteer for Senior Santa or receive information can contact Singer at 207-498-1632 or esinger@carymed.org.

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