"Be a Santa to a Senior" Program Needs Help - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

"Be a Santa to a Senior" Program Needs Help

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By Ron Marasco

rmarasco@myabc5.com

You'll see them in front of every Dahl's: a tree full of tags... lots of tags. The "Be a Santa to a Senior" program started five years ago, and this year, a little bit of the Grinch has set in.

"Normally by this time we're well on our way to having lots of people," said Denise Beener, store manager at the Fleur Dahl's in Des Moines.  "There's lots of seniors that don't get a gift at Christmas time."

Anne Peters from Home Instead Senior Care, which provides senior home visits, hopes that's not the case.
 
"I don't want to be the one that has to deliver the message that gives somebody a 'sorry, but we just couldn't do it for you this year,'" said Peters.

More than a thousand tags remain.  And with a deadline of this Friday, organizers are worried they won't all be taken and returned.

"Every year we're amazed by the generosity of the community," said Peters.  "This year though, they've been coming in a little but slowly, and so yes, we are a bit nervous."

Gifts can start from as little as five dollars.  Some of the items asked for include jigsaw puzzles, CD's, large print books and gift cards.
 
"I do know a couple of names on there," said Mary Custard, a Dahl's customer.  "A lot of them are actually from The Manor at Wakonda.  There's a lot of elderly who do need the help."

"Sometimes in the grocery store, we're the only people they see all day and we really need people to come get the ornaments, so everyone can get a gift at Christmas time," said Beener.

"Everybody thinks Christmas is for kids, but really aren't we all kids at heart?" said Peters.
 
You can pick up a tag at any Dahl's location.  They ask you to return the wrapped gift by Friday, Dec. 14th with the tag attached.
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