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Spreading cheer
ElderCare Christmas tree available for second year in central Kansas
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ElderCare Inc. in Great Bend is home to a Christmas tree for its second annual Be a Santa to a Senior program. Kathy Wapelhorst, left, and Jamie Baldwin are decorating the tree.

Because of the “amazing community support” last year, ElderCare Inc. is sponsoring its second annual Be a Santa to a Senior project, Executive Director Brandi Gruber said.

“We collected gifts for more than 60 of our home-services clients in eight area counties last Christmas,” Gruber recalled. “We hope even more area residents will benefit from the community’s generosity this year.”

Be a Santa to a Senior provides much-needed items to senior citizens who are short on finances and have limited mobility.

A Christmas tree has been trimmed with decorative tags that represent clients and their particular needs. Actual names are not used because of privacy concerns.

Anyone is welcome to choose a tag and return a gift at the ElderCare office, 5611 10th in Great Bend, or call 620-792-5942.

There is still a little time for additions to the tree.

“Many seniors, especially at Christmastime, need to know their neighbors are thinking about them,” Gruber said. “They need some basic items and we encourage businesses and individuals to take on the role of Santa Claus.”

Items could include blankets, warm clothing, food and toiletry items, crossword and word-search books, and gift cards for a few staples at the grocery store.

“In addition, we want to ensure that each gift includes something fun,” Gruber commented. “This could be a favorite candy or food item specific to each gift recipient.”


The counties involved are Barton, Pawnee, Rush, Stafford, Kiowa, Edwards, Pratt and Ford. ElderCare has about 350 home-services clients in this area.

“Anyone who receives our home services in these counties is eligible to have a place on our Christmas tree,” Gruber said. “Our caregivers are offering suggestions because they are our eyes and ears as they visit our clients’ homes.

“However, anyone who knows a senior citizen who could benefit from this program is encouraged to contact us soon,” she added, noting ElderCare personnel will deliver the gifts.

ElderCare’s home services include personal care, household tasks and respite for caregivers. Registered nurses offer medication management, wellness checks and companionship.

“Last year, gifts came from individuals of all ages, businesses, churches and civic groups,” Gruber said. “We were overwhelmed by that amazing response and are excited to see what this year brings.”

For more information, call 620-792-5942.