‘Be a Santa to a senior and veterans’ kicks off

No senior or veteran will go without a gift this Christmas.

That is priority one for the Home Instead Senior Care offices in Marshalltown, Newton and Pella, as part of their “Be a Santa to a Senior” program, said owner Jeff Wisnieski Wednesday.

Joining in partnership are Walmart stores in Marshalltown and Pella, Hy-Vee in Newton and the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging in Waterloo.

Also on board are the veterans affairs offices of Jasper and Marion counties.

Wisnieski said the goal is to spread holiday cheer among many folks who are widowed, live alone, or have no family.

“National statistics tell a sobering story of the number of seniors and veterans who are widowed,” he said. “One report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau, said 27 percent of people 65 and older, or 10.8 million people, are widowed.”

Wisnieski said central Iowans can help by stopping at the Hy-Vee in Newton or Walmart stores in Marshalltown and Pella.

Those businesses are displaying Christmas trees from Nov. 15 to Dec. 13, that feature ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests. Shoppers can pick an ornament from the trees, buy the items listed and return them either wrapped or unwrapped to the store, with the ornament attached.

The three Home Instead Senior Care offices and volunteers will collect, wrap and distribute the gifts to local seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.

This year, Wisnieski and team are including more than 600 residents at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

Ornaments for veterans are also marked on the trees.

Gifts to IVH residents will be disbursed at the facility’s annual event Dec. 8, in conjunction with IVH’s volunteer services department.

“During this season of giving, we encourage shoppers to buy a little extra to say thank you to seniors and veterans,” said Jonna Wisnieski, Jeff’s spouse.

For more information, contact 641-792-1800 or BeaSantatoaSenior.com.