A change to the Angel Tree

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

So many people are in need, especially, during the holidays and it is too much for any single agency to provide for everyone.

This year the Salvation Army Angel Tree has made a slight change in how it serves seniors.

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Seniors living in nursing homes will not be on the Angel Tree this year, but instead will all be given a small gift from the Salvation Army. In years past, some nursing home residents were also on the tree.

“Our plan is to give everybody in the nursing homes a gift, and the Senior Angels come from the most needy of the Meals on Wheels clients,” Major Steve Welch said.

Senior Angels this year are mostly Meals on Wheels recipients, many of whom are homebound and more isolated. Seniors who apply are put on the tree to be adopted with a wish list of presents to receive this Christmas.

“The thought was there are so many people who do something at Christmas time in the nursing homes, and they are pretty well provided for while they are there,” Welch said about the change, which he said insures assistance to those with a greater need. “We try to visit and make sure there is no one left out.”

Although the change has had an impact on the local nursing homes because directors are now looking for more donations from the community, activity director Amie Brooks at The Bluffs Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center said she is appreciative of everything the Salvation Army has done for her residents.

“It has impacted us, but they’re trying to help us as much as they can,” Brooks said.

Every year she looks for community members to adopt residents regardless of the outside help she receives from organizations. Brooks said the community has been good to respond when the nursing home has needed extra help, and the staff has stepped up to give wherever they can.

“Our staff here at The Bluffs is really pitching in getting our residents adopted,” Brooks said. “We love the community and appreciate all the help from the community.”

During the holidays is a time when residents can often feel very depressed, she said, and getting a gift from a person in the community can make a significant difference in making them feel loved. Brooks is still in need of 20 to 30 presents and needs to collect the donations by Dec. 21 in time for Santa to give them out.

Vicksburg Convalescent Home activity director Deborah Hughes is also in need of about 25 to 30 more gifts for residents.

“I am going to the community, the different churches and asking them to donate Christmas gifts to our residents, especially the ones who don’t have families,” she said.

Hughes said residents would be open to receiving any present a person is willing to give as long as its from the heart. Socks and blankets, among other items, are needed throughout the year, she said, and do not have to just be donated during the holidays.

“Socks is something they never get enough of,” Hughes said. “Anything they give is greatly appreciated. Our residents don’t care, it’s just the thought that counts.”

The residents look forward to getting gifts and visits from the community, Hughes said, and it makes them feel good to be remembered. She will be giving out gifts through Secret Santa on Dec. 20 and said donations would be appreciated by Dec. 16.

Activities director Brandi Puckett at Shady Lawn Nursing Home said she has a list of gift ideas for residents including sweaters, jackets, hats and puzzles. She will distribute presents Dec. 23 and needs donations before then.

“A lot of them don’t have a lot of family participation so it means a lot to them to be able to receive gifts,” she said.

There are plenty of other nursing homes in the area that surely need donations as well. For more information, call The Bluffs 601-638-9211, Vicksburg Convalescent 601-638-3632 or Shady Lawn 601-636-1448.