Community Support Services’ (CSS) Be a Santa for a Senior campaign is back for a 13th year.
Linda Taylor, CSS Program Director, says the campaign supports seniors’ special projects all year long.
“For example, over Christmas, the holiday project will bring happiness and connection and holiday spirit to seniors. Volunteers will help with holiday tasks. These tasks are meaningful to the senior because they are identified by the senior or older adult,” she says.
Taylor says tasks may include items, gifts or gifts of time including decorating, baking, cooking, shopping for presents or helping them wrap. She says this campaign is connected to the CSS’ yearlong Kindness Project in Circle of Care which ensures vulnerable isolated adults are connected to essential or life sustaining services.
She says those services could be free transportation, access to meals, friendly visitors and providing assistance with everyday tasks and home help.
“It could be things with some as simple as assistance with mail, with pets. Maybe they need their pet walked. We’re looking into snow removal. It could be getting their garbage to the transfer site. It could be getting water from a Community Center. All of this makes the senior or the older adult feel included in the community all year long,” she says.
According to Taylor, the campaign usually launches right after mid November by raising awareness.
On the volunteer front, she says the campaign needs volunteers whether they live in the rural community or locally.
“We have a volunteer drive on to recruit people. A gift of time is very, very important to this program. It takes kindness, heart and an application process and an interview, of course, but basically a little bit of time and a little bit of kindness to give some of that time away,” she says.
Taylor says this year CSS is trying to strongly focus on identifying and working with the individuals to identify what it is they really need and support them throughout the whole entire year.
“It’s the connections, it’s the community connections, whether they know someone else there that they could refer to the program. That’s another thing that they could do is if they are aware of somebody out in the community that needs a little kind of assistance, just give us a referral or if they want to know anything more about the program to give us a call at 705-746-5602,” she says.