Twelve years ago, Jimmy Allred saw a lonely senior citizen sitting at Golden Living Center on Christmas morning waiting for family and holiday tidings that never did come.
But every year since that Christmas, Allred and the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office along with Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation have dedicated themselves to providing seniors who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone with gifts and visits.
“Her sitting alone all Christmas day is what grabbed ahold of my heartstrings,” Allred remembered. “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our seniors. It’s our way of saying, ‘We still care about you.’”
Santa for Seniors is in need of sponsors and donations to provide seniors with Christmas, and those willing to sponsor a senior could make all the difference for a senior this season.
“Anyone who wants to nominate a senior for the program, or anyone who is interested in sponsoring a senior, let us know. We are still looking for recommendations of seniors who qualify for the program,” said Tammy Bryant, special populations coordinator at Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation.
In order to be considered in the program, seniors must live alone and must not have any family or friends who visit or give during the holidays. Santa for Seniors is not income-based and participating seniors may live in their own home, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, a retirement center or another facility. Up to $30-$40 is spent on each senior.
“We distribute the gifts and visit with our seniors the week before Christmas,” Bryant said. “We are looking for community volunteers to help with distribution as well.”
Last year, the program served more than 60 seniors. Program organizers go by very specific lists from seniors, but monetary donations along with items such as toiletries, pajamas, socks and slippers are appreciated. But because specific donations are needed to complete the wish-lists for this year’s seniors, those interested in sponsoring a senior are asked to contact Bryant or Allred for details.
Bryant can be reached at 706.234.0383, and Allred can be reached at 706.291.4111.