Help area seniors this Christmas

Local News

The holidays can be a hard time for elderly folks that live alone.
The Senior Care Office of Blair and Cambria counties are inviting the community to give gifts to seniors. The program “Be a Santa to a Senior” wants to show the elderly that people care and see them as an important part of the community.
If you’re interested in helping – go to a participating location and look for the “Be a Santa to a Senior Tree” on display through December 7th. 
You’ll find ornaments featuring the seniors and their desired gifts.

Here’s the complete news release with the participating locations:

DUNCANSVILLE, PA – Nov. 12, 2018 – Did you know that 28 percent of people 65 or older live alone, according to AARP? Each year, these seniors have fewer family members and friends to provide company and care to them, which often leads to social isolation. The holidays can be especially hard for those who are living independently and may feel lonely. 

That’s why the Home Instead Senior Care® Office serving Blair and Cambria counties is inviting the community to come together to provide gifts and holiday cheer to seniors who may be isolated from friends or family this holiday season through its Be a Santa to a Senior® program. This is the program’s sixth year in the area. Last year, nearly 300 local seniors received gifts.

“Be a Santa to a Senior helps bring comfort and a smile to many seniors. It shows them that people care about them and see them as an important part of the community,” said Theresa Zurilla, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Duncansville. “Social isolation is a concern among seniors and the holidays often intensify feelings of distance and loneliness. When we deliver the gifts and spend some time with them, it makes a big difference.” 

Be a Santa to a Senior is a true community program, getting generous support from West-Central Pennsylvania businesses, nonprofit organizations, retailers, numerous volunteers and members of the community. For the second year, Home Instead Senior Care has partnered with local preschool, BIG.FISH, at First United Methodist Church in Hollidaysburg to have the children decorate gift bags for the seniors. 

It’s easy to help out. Go to one of the participating locations listed below and look for the Be a Santa to a Senior tree on display through December 7th. Each tree will be decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and their desired gifts. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. There’s no need to worry about wrapping — community volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.

“We’re always excited to see how much Be a Santa to a Senior boosts seniors’ spirits during the holiday season,” said Zurilla. “And we are grateful to be a part of a community that comes together to make this happen.”

Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found at the following locations:

•    Boscov’s Department Store, 570 Galleria Drive, Johnstown, PA  15904
•    Boscov’s Department Store, 139 Falon Lane, Altoona, PA 16602
•    Thompson’s Pharmacy, 600 East Chestnut Avenue, Altoona, PA 16601
•    Your Choice Federal Credit Union, 109 Keystone Street, Altoona, PA 16602
•    Home Instead Senior Care, #336 1923 Plank Road, Duncansville , PA 16635
•    Giant Eagle, 881 College Plaza, Rt. 22W & Rt. 219, Ebensburg, PA 15931
•    Thompson’s Pharmacy, 510 Blair St., Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
•    The Dream Restaurant, 1500 Allegheny Street, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648 
o    Tree available at this location from November 23 to December 10.

For more information about the program, visit or call 814-693-2911.

For more information about how you can help seniors in isolation in your community, visit 

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