The Holiday Season is a time for family, cheer and presents. For some, however, it can be a season of sadness, because not everyone has the means or the family to celebrate.
The city of Scottsdale’s Adopt-A-Senior Program aims to lift the spirits of low-income, isolated and relatively homebound Scottsdale seniors.
One resident is familiar with the ache of the holidays. “It gets a little sad, it gets a little lonely during Christmas time,” said Rafaela Garcia, a Granite Reef Senior Center patient.
Garcia does not have family members in Arizona, and with her visual impairment, struggles getting out of the house by herself. She said she looks forward to the gifts from Adopt-A-Senior’s donors.
“They do buy us [seniors] wonderful gifts very, very nice items that we would like for Christmas,” Garcia said. “I can always depend on them once a year to come over and help us out with the things that we need.”
Leslie Lory, a social worker from the City of Scottsdale and coordinator of Adopt-A-Senior, said the program means a lot to the residents.
“It is a way of getting the seniors to feel special and have a holiday they normally wouldn’t have,” she said.
The problem is, there are more seniors signed up than donors. The city is looking for approximately 50 more donors to meet the 268 seniors in need.
The seniors in the program send over his or her wish list to Lory, and the city asks that donors also consider buying a gift card to a grocery store of the senior’s choice, a book of stamps and personal hygiene products.
This year, Garcia is asking for a new set of knives and a flashlight to help her vision.
Garcia’s social worker and a Human Service Specialist at the Granite Reef Senior Center, knows what a difference these gifts makes in the senior’s attitudes.
“What might not seem like a really big thing for them [donors] to do, but it is a huge gift,” Salk said. “I’ve gone to people’s houses in the summer, and they are still wearing the robe they got for their Adopt-A-Senior present the year before.”
Garcia said thanks to Adopt-A-Senior, she is not as sad during the holiday months, “Instead of feeling kind of down and lonely, it’s really brightened my life. It has made me really excited about Christmas time,” she said.
If you would like to become a donor for the Adopt-A-Senior program, fill out the donor form under senior services. The deadline to drop off gifts is Dec. 1.