Mon, Jan. 20

Program remembers the elderly at Christmas

No doubt you've heard of Toys for Tots. But what about gifts for grandmas and grandpas?

The Elderly Christmas Gift Program began five years ago as a way to ensure older people living alone were not forgotten during the holiday season. The program is asking you to help out by donating gifts appropriate to the elderly and their needs.

"Five years ago, I was volunteering for an organization that gives gifts to children, when we received some gift request for older adults," said Sedona resident Brenda Cosse. "I told the organizer I would take care of those requests and the Elderly Christmas Gift Program was born."

That first year, Cosse and a few friends put together 24 gifts and delivered them to elderly. Last year, they assembled and distributed 464 gift bags throughout the Verde Valley. This year, their goal is to put together 532 gift bags.

"Every year the program has grown," Cosse said. "This year we're working with the Meals on Wheels program and the Verde Valley Manor in Cottonwood."

According to Brenda, the elderly are forgotten during the holidays. They live by themselves and delivery services such as Meals on Wheels are often their only contact with the outside world. With the recession, the need has never been greater. The loss of pension funds and retirement savings has hit the elderly very hard.

"Most people don't know that food stamps won't buy staples, such as toiletries and blankets," said Brenda. "That's what we help provide. And besides, it's always nice to open something on Christmas morning."

Want to help? Here's what the Elderly Christmas Gift Program needs in way of donations. Each gift bag given will contain one of the primary gifts and at least five newly purchased items, such as:

Primary Gifts, Wrapped: Such as lap blankets, warm shawls, towels, hand towels, wash cloth sets or a $20 gift certificate for a local grocery store. Please put tag or label stating what's inside and whether it's for a man or woman.


Secondary Gifts, Unwrapped: Such as non-drying shampoo or conditioner, body soap, bar soap, toothpaste and tooth brushes, body lotions, hair brush and comb sets, denture cleaners (Efferdent and Polident), box of Kleenex or handkerchiefs, pull on, or soft-warm slippers - one size fits all.

Put your gifts in brown paper grocery bag and drop it off before Dec. 9 at: The Pet Kingdom in the Fry's Shopping Center in Cottonwood. For Sedona locations, call (928) 282-1524. If you would like to volunteer or make a cash donation, please call Brenda at 282-1524.

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