Seniors deliver cheer to senior citizens
Natalie Netzel Staff Writer
NEWBERRY COUNTY — Mid-terms are over and winter break has just started but about 11 Newberry High seniors demonstrated selflessness Friday morning for the third annual Secret Santa for Seniors project.
On Friday morning, a group of seniors headed out with Newberry County sheriff’s deputies to deliver Christmas cheer and gifts to senior citizens who are less fortunate.
Around 8:30 a.m., seniors along with NHS guidance counselor Candice Dixon and the Living Water Foundation’s director Renee Martin finished wrapping presents and loading the sleigh — or the sheriff’s deputies vehicles — as they ventured out around the city and county to over 50 seniors this year.
The project is a community project started by the Living Water Foundation which is a non-profit providing resources, financial assistance and education to people around the county. The foundation works with Newberry High students as well as the sheriff’s office and community members who want to volunteer.
While only 11 seniors delivered the gifts, Dixon pointed out that there were about 15 seniors who organized the project along with other seniors and underclassmen who helped along the way.
The project is designed to connect high school seniors with senior citizens. Over the last several months, Secret Santa for Seniors volunteers have worked with local service organizations, churches, and health care providers to accept confidential referrals focused on financially challenged or isolated seniors.
The names, along with suggested gift items, were featured on ornaments placed on a tree inside the Newberry Wendy’s. Shoppers selected the ornament, purchased the gift, and returned it to the store where it was collected, wrapped, and prepared for delivery.
On one trip, senior Joseph Haney and State Constable Clyde Bowman visited an elderly man in Newberry.
Haney explained what the project is all about to the family and wished them a merry Christmas.
“I didn’t recognize the depth and meaning of it all until we started doing it. I didn’t realize how much it meant to them to receive a Christmas gift,” said Haney. “It means a lot to me because I could be in that situation one day and I would hope that someone would return the favor. It means a lot to me to see the happiness and to see their faces when they receive the gifts.”
“Thanks to the help of the Newberry County Sheriff’s office, Newberry High School students, and the kindness of strangers; many seniors, that may have otherwise been overlooked, will enjoy the true spirit of Christmas,” said Martin.
For more information about referrals, donations or additional ways to support the project or the foundation, contact Renee Martin at 530-6720.
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