Center seeks gift cards for seniors

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 10, 2015

SPREADING CHEER: From left, Kathleen Penton and Gladys Cruz decorate the snowflake Christmas tree at the Senior Center.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

SPREADING CHEER: From left, Kathleen Penton and Gladys Cruz decorate the snowflake Christmas tree at the Senior Center.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Officials with the Senior Center of South Pearl River County are gearing up for their annual “Adopt a Senior Snowflake Project.”
The project, conceived five years ago by the center’s Community Business Advisory Committee, aims to bring Christmas joy to seniors living on their own without family.
Senior Center Participants Coordinator Kathleen Penton said many seniors live on a small fixed income and have no other means to purchase prescription medications or food at the end of the month, when finances are running low.
“Seniors generally get their Social Security funds at the beginning at the month,” Penton said. “Really, anything could be their biggest cost at the end of the month. That’s why we’re asking for gift cards to local drug and department stores.”
This year, there have been 57 names added to the snowflake project. The seniors, who have no idea they’ve been nominated, are assigned a numbered snowflake, Penton said.
During the screening process, Penton said she evaluates the seniors most in-need who participate in activities at the center. Officials from local churches and senior apartment complexes also nominate seniors.
“The seniors are thrilled when they find out they been chosen,” Penton said.
Anyone wishing to participate in the project can purchase a $25 gift card from any local department, grocery or drug store, Penton said. The gift card can be dropped off at the Senior Center, located at 45 El Patch Parkway, Picayune.
Donors then choose a numbered snowflake from the Christmas tree in the center’s lobby and turn it, along with the gift card, in to any staff member, according to a senior center release.
Another form of participation includes the construction of one’s own snowflake tree in the workplace, school or organization, the release states. The senior center would like to help all seniors nominated this year. However, if there are more names than gifts, allotment will be given to those with the greater need, the release states.
The final day to turn in gift cards is Dec. 18 at the senior center.
The Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary were the first to donate to the snowflake project with a $150 donation to purchase gift cards, the release states.
The Picayune Exchange Club has also volunteered to purchase two gift cards, Penton said.
For more information about adopting a senior, contact center staff at 601-798-9892 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Learn more about the center through Facebook at The Senior Center of South Pearl River County.

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