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Seasonal campaign aims to bring holiday cheer to 200 Tri-Cities seniors

"Be a Santa to a Senior" is back and here's how you can help those who may not get to spend winter with loved ones.
"Be a Santa to a Senior" is an annual initiative in the Tri-Cities that helps provide holiday cheer to older adults who might be lonely this winter season.

Making those displaced from their loved ones, or with no family at all, feel less lonely this holiday season.

That's the goal behind an annual campaign that's looking to bring joyous surprises to hundreds of seniors living alone in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Home Instead has launched its 21st "Be a Santa to a Senior" initiative in the region — between now and Dec. 8 — and encourages local residents to give a special gift to older adults who might be alone during the winter.

"A simple gift can bring such joy to older adults who may not have loved ones to celebrate with," said organization spokesperson Judy Costiuk, who oversees operations in the Tri-Cities, as well as New Westminster and Ridge Meadows.

"Through 'Be a Santa to a Senior,' we can help them feel the holiday spirit."

This year's goal: 200 gifts for 200 local seniors.

Costiuk called the campaign "a true community program" and suggested local businesses, retailers and non-profits get involved.

"This program is so much more than gift-giving — it's about the special moments and joy shared between the older adults and the community around them," she said.

"There is nothing better than seeing the smile on an older adult’s face when they open their gift."

How it works

Home Instead has placed holiday trees at two businesses with several ornaments that feature the name and desired gift of an older adult.

This includes:

Interested residents can buy the requested gift and return it in a gift bag to the same location with the ornament attached.

Gifts will then be delivered by Home Instead and volunteers from the community, which will include the Port Moody Police Department (PMPD).

Since the program started in 2003, "Be a Santa to a Senior" has provided around 2.2 million gifts delivered by more than 65,000 volunteers.

For more information, you can visit the initiative's website.

- with files from Jess Balzer, Burnaby NOW