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Donations sought for Holiday Gift Angels program
Christmas gifts

Forsyth County Senior Services is asking the community for help getting gifts for local seniors in need.

The annual Holiday Gift Angels Program, which allows the community to purchase gifts for seniors, began on Thursday. Those interested in buying gifts can pick up a gift tag or wish list from any of the county’s three senior services locations.

“The program is primarily focused on our homebound seniors because they are the highest need folks,” said Senior Services Director Ruthie Brew. “By definition, they’re not able to get out, so what we do is we take the programming to them.”

To find a senior’s wish list, residents can find angel cut-outs on Christmas trees at three senior services locations: Center at Charles Place, 595 Dahlonega Street; Sexton Hall Enrichment Center, 2115 Chloe Road; and Hearthstone Lodge Community Center, 7305 Lanier Drive. 

Those participating must bring an unwrapped gift in a gift bag (with the request tag attached) to any of the senior centers on weekdays through Nov. 27.

Brew said the program is also open to those who regularly attend the senior centers, adding that in 2016 the program benefitted 170 homebound seniors and 30 in-need regulars. 

“Some very common things are robes and slippers; it’s kind of nice to get a new robe and slippers every year,” she said. “But they also ask for fun things like word search books and puzzles. They often ask for toiletries; toiletries are expensive and also if you’re homebound, which means you aren’t going shopping, you probably need [them].”

Some who give to the program opt to give gift cards or donate to the Meals on Wheels program through the Holiday Meal Certificate Program. Brew said almost $17,000 was raised for the meals last year.

“A meal is valued at a little less than $4 a day,” Brew said. “In our Meals on Wheels program, we take these meals out to our older adults and they receive a hot meal and a friendly visit.”

Brew said Meals on Wheels donations can be for a day, week, month or year. Last year’s donations were enough to pay for more than 4,000 meals.

Through both the Holiday Gift Angels and Meals on Wheels, Brew said the impact on seniors is huge. 

“If you are homebound, having someone come into your house with a smile and food and gifts, it makes a tremendous difference in their lives,” she said. “It gives them joy. It is the highlight of the day and probably their week and, for the holidays, probably their month.”

To volunteer or donate to Meals on Wheels or other volunteering positions, call Jim Yarborough at (770) 781-2178.