Holiday Program Helps Panama City Seniors Struggling With Poverty and Loneliness

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 03:47 PM.

Be a Santa to a Senior®, the popular campaign that in seven years has delivered more than 4,000 gifts to local needy seniors, is being planned again this holiday season as older adults continue to face poverty and loneliness.

The area office of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, the world’s largest provider of non-medical in-home care and companionship services for older adults, is joining Patronis Elementary School, Northside Elementary School, Highland Park Elementary School, 325 Civil Engineering Squad from Tyndall Air Force Base and Walmart to provide gifts to seniors who otherwise might not receive them.

“Seniors faced with medical bills and the high cost of living can find they have little left at the end of the year,” said Lee Harrell, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Bay, Jackson, Holmes, Washington, Calhoun, Liberty, Franklin and Gulf Counties. “That’s not the only issue, though. Personal needs may become magnified for so many living alone with no one to share their problems.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9 percent of U.S. seniors 65 and older are living in poverty and 27 percent are widowed.*

Here’s how to help these struggling seniors: Pick up ornaments with the first names of seniors and their gift requests from Christmas trees, which will be up at Walmart stores at 10270 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, 725 North Tyndall Pkwy, and 2101 Hwy 77, Lynn Haven, on Nov. 12 through Dec. 14. Buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store, along with the ornaments attached.

“Helping a needy older adult can bring fulfillment to the giver as well as the receiver – it does make a difference,” Harrell said.

For more information about the program, visit or call 850-522-1919 or 866-301-1919.

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