Senior care center collects over 400 gifts for Gallatin County seniors

    Home Instead Senior Care has collected over 400 gifts for seniors.jpg

    It's a way to help struggling seniors in one of the more lonely times of the year.

    Like Angel Tree for kids, the Adopt A Senior program provides gifts for the elderly.

    At Home Instead Senior Care in Bozeman, Christmas has come early.

    The company has already collected multiple gifts for over 400 senior citizens in the greater Gallatin County.

    "A senior may be alone, they may not have family, they may not feel well, and to see the Christmas season approaching; it can lead to depression for them," said co-owner Ruth Ann Marchi.

    Men and women over 65-years-old make up roughly 17 percent of Montana.

    According to U.S. census data, more than 5,000 live below the poverty line.

    In Bozeman, eight percent of the population are seniors.

    This is the eighth year Home Instead Senior Care does the Be a Santa to a Senior program; they started with 65 senior participants and this year they had 417.

    Four trees were placed in different businesses throughout the community and each tree had a tag with a nominated senior's first name and their wish list on it.

    People could then anonymously take a tag and return to the tree later with the gifts.

    "The community has responded well beyond what we expected," said Cindy Sander, a consultant at Home Instead Senior Care.

    So much so, that there are no more tags on the trees.

    According to Sander and Marchi, some of the most requested items the seniors request are gifts for their pets, warm socks and blankets, even food.

    "We had one last year that really touched our hearts that asked for three pairs of gloves different sizes, and we went 'three pairs of gloves why is that?' -- he wanted to give his grandchildren a gift but he didn't have the money to do it," said Sander.

    "To see this person's face when we take the gifts in and the joy that it brings them it will absolutely touch your heart," said Marchi, who says some of the trees they deliver to at the senior's homes sometimes have no gifts or no ornaments at all on them.

    Although the tags have been collected, they are still looking for help in the form of volunteering.

    Home Instead Senior Care will be having a wrapping party at Dahl Funeral Home in Bozeman, Monday December 10th.

    The wrapping party will go from 9-5 p.m.

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