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MARY MEAUX — Be a Santa to a senior at Christmas

There is a segment of our community that is sometimes forgotten as families celebrate Christmas with the children.

While the focus is on the wide-eyed child eagerly unwrapping a well thought out, bought-with-love gift — colorful paper flying and bows being tossed while squealing with excitement — somewhere in our city is a homebound senior citizen all alone.

For that senior, there are no calls wishing them a “Merry Christmas,” no warm embrace, no gifts.

Charlie Holder and family saw this for the first time some years ago when they went to deliver donated gifts to homebound seniors. Of the five homes they visited that year, three held people who had no interaction with others that day, no gifts, no holiday wishes.

“We had one gentleman a few years ago receive a gift and he was in tears,” Holder said. “This was the first Christmas gift he had received in years and, again, you don’t think about that. You think about the foster kids and the kids that are poor, not a senior that is lonely.”

Holder is owner of Home Instead Senior Care Beaumont location, which is a private company. Home Instead is partnering with other organizations to promote the Be a Santa to a Senior program. Last year over 2,100 area seniors received a gift and, in the 17 years since its inception, it has served over 26,000 local seniors, according to information from the organization.

Partners include Nutrition Service Center, Orange Community Action Association, local health agencies, area retailers, volunteers and members of the community.

The names of the seniors come from Meals on Wheels as well as 26 participating nursing homes in Jefferson, Orange and parts of Hardin counties.

To help a senior it’s as easy as picking a tag off a tree. The senior trees are located at Market Basket stores in Nederland, Groves and Port Neches, Bronze Body locations, local CVS and Walgreens and more. For a full list, go to BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call 409-892-7494.

Mary Meaux is a reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com