By Martin Graham
Through the work of a few volunteers, nearly 70 senior citizens will be sponsored for Christmas and will be treated to a few gifts.
The idea began when Jenny Vanslyke wanted to do something nice for residents of the community this Christmas. In past years, the individuals working together for this project have come together to sponsor children for Christmas by getting them toys and clothes. Also prior to 2015, volunteers sponsored single mothers for the holidays to provide for them in different ways. This year, Vanslyke approached Mekia Rhoades with the Community Action Commission of Fayette County.
“We find that senior citizens might not have anybody else during the holidays, and after Jenny approached us with her idea we really liked it,” volunteer Steve Armstrong said during an interview recently. “So, we have been working together for the past five or six weeks trying to get this all set up. We were able to raise $3,000 in the last week alone to help sponsor these senior citizens.”
Originally, Armstrong said, the group had considered sponsoring maybe a dozen seniors at the most. After seeing the amount of donations from private citizens and businesses, though, the trio realized they could help quite a bit more.
“As part of the Santa for Senior program … tonight we had the opportunity to take a great group of local seniors on a Christmas lights tour,” Armstrong said Thursday evening. “I think everyone had a blast. Special thanks to Randy Newland and The Bus for donating his services tonight, and to Melissa Puckett for helping with the outing. Also, thank you to Tim Horton’s for providing the seniors with hot chocolate and donuts. Finally, we would like to thank the fun group we had for the evening.”
The participants of the event were: Viola Larie, Peggy Penwell, Helen Mitchell, Mildred Robinson, Debbie Dillion, Dixie Graham and Ernie Wilson.
Armstrong said that over the next week they will be working to sort through and package the various gifts for the senior citizens. They will begin to deliver the gifts and the process should take about four or five days to complete.
“We understand how depressing the holiday season can be for some people, especially if you are by yourself,” Armstrong said. “We are hoping that we can make a difference and bring a little Christmas cheer for some of those who might not have someone to do that. We appreciate the support for this project and we are looking forward to getting the presents delivered.”
Reach Martin Graham at 740-313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.