Santa Program provides assistance to seniors this holiday season

Be a Santa to a Senior®, the popular campaign that has delivered 1.5 million gifts to needy seniors throughout North America during the past seven years, again is helping older adults cope in tough economic times.

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, has partnered with ACCAP, Washington County Government Center, Coon Rapids Senior Center, Rivertown Commons, SAC’s-Cambridge, Chisago County Senior Center, Isanti County Government Center, East Central Senior Resource Center and Family Pathways, as well as Byerly’s, Lund’s, Shopko and  Embroidery & Ink  to provide gifts and companionship to seniors who otherwise might not receive either this holiday season.

“Many older adults continue to struggle in a down economy, particularly those who live alone with no family nearby to help provide resources,” said Dan Arnold, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving the Northern Suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Seniors have faced a trying year amid the threat of Social Security payment delays as part of the debt-ceiling debate. What’s more, seniors have lost almost one-third (32 percent) of their buying power since 2000, according to the Annual Survey of Senior Costs from The Senior Citizens League (TSCL).

That’s where Be a Santa to a Senior can help. Before the holiday season, the participating local nonprofit organizations will identify needy and isolated seniors and provide those names to the local Home Instead Senior Care office.

Christmas trees, which will go up locally at Shopko, 5630 Saint Croix Trail in North Branch; and Embroidery & Ink, 118 West Main St. in Isanti on Nov. 11 through Dec. 12, will feature ornaments with the first names only of the seniors and their gift requests.

Holiday shoppers can pick up an ornament, buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store, along with the ornament attached.

“We hope holiday shoppers will open their hearts to those seniors who have given so much to make our community a better place,” Arnold said.

For more information about the program, visit