NEWBERRY — The holiday season is one of the happiest times of the year, but for many senior citizens it can be a very lonely time.
For the third year, the Living Water Foundation and Newberry High School seniors have teamed up to make sure the season is merry and bright for elderly members of the community.
The Secret Santa for Seniors project is uniquely designed to focus on financially challenged or isolated seniors.
“Most high school students never realize there are literally hundreds of seniors in their own community who do have not family and are alone,” said Candice Dixon, a guidance counselor at Newberry High School. “By connecting the two generations of seniors, this project not only provides a rich experience for the students but also gives them an opportunity to share the Christmas spirit in a deep and meaningful way.”
The project works by confidentially accepting referrals from local non-profits, health care providers, service organizations, and churches.
Beginning Nov. 25 and running through Dec. 18, a tree inside the Wendy’s Main Street location will feature ornaments with first names only and a suggested gift item. Holiday shoppers and patrons can choose an ornament, purchase the suggested gift, and return it unwrapped to the store.
Generic donations of socks, slippers, blankets and canned goods will also be accepted. Secret Santa for Seniors volunteers will collect, wrap, and deliver the gifts by Dec. 20 with the help of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office.
The community is invited to attend the official kick-off and tree decorating celebration, hosted by Wendy’s on Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. Even Santa Claus will make an early stop in Newberry to join special guest, Mayor Foster Senn who will kick off the event and hang the first ornament.
“Newberry is such a generous community so it’s not surprising to see this generosity being passed on to our younger generation,” said Senn. “I can’t think of a better way for our students, residents and businesses to help brighten the holidays and show our gratitude to those who have contributed so much to our community.”
“Each year, many of our elderly neighbors celebrate the holidays without friends or family,” Renee’ Martin, executive director of the Living Water Foundation said. “We are delighted to be involved in a project that brings so much joy to people who may have otherwise been overlooked.”
Contact Martin at 803-530-6720 to make referrals, donations, or request more information.