Be a Santa to a Senior this holiday season

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WEST ALLIS -- As much of her family lives out-of-town, Barbara Heise finds herself celebrating many holidays at the nursing home where she lives, but last Christmas, Barbara got a nice surprise!

"I guess we all want something special in our life or to have something special in our life and that did make me feel special," Heise said.

Heise got a gift from the program "Be a Santa to a Senior."

Home Instead Senior Care started this effort to put smiles on the faces of lonely or isolated seniors in the Milwaukee area.

"It's a very simple thing. It's very nice to do, and it's one of those things that you will be touching the hearts of many seniors that have given so much to our community in the past," Director of Community Service for Home Instead Senior Care Katherine Peppler said.

Several area business, such as Walgreens, have offered to help. Participating locations have a tree decorated with ornaments with gift ideas on them. Those interested in helping out can then buy the gift and leave it in the barrel at the door.

"When a customer comes in through that door and pulls an ornament off the tree it's so heartfelt and heartwarming to see that people actually care," Walgreens manager Melinda Smyczek said.

As Christmas can be a difficult time for some, this simple act will bring joy into the lives of our seniors who need it most.

"We need people who care about us you know and they do, or people wouldn't do this," Heise said.

Home Instead Senior Care has been hosting "Be a Santa to a Senior" for about eight years and has provided gifts for about 10,000 seniors in the Milwaukee area.

You can buy a gift for "Be a Santa to a Senior" until December 5th. The gifts will be distributed to the seniors December 11th through the 13th.