Meals on Wheels Seniors Receive Gifts Spreading Holiday Cheer

Meals on Wheels Volunteer Coordinator, Maleia Tortorigi, and youth volunteer smile for picture while unloading gifts

Over 200 Meals on Wheels recipients in Jefferson County received gifts this holiday season through the Be a Santa to a Senior program. Home Instead Senior Care partnered with local non-profits and community organizations to identify seniors who might not receive gifts during Christmastime. The senior care organization then worked with local businesses and retail stores to facilitate the purchase and distribution of gifts. Participants could also search online for a tree at an area store to pick a senior on a bulb, purchase the present, then place the bulb and unwrapped gift in a designed drop-off box.

Since 2003, Be a Santa to a Senior has maintained its purpose of spreading holiday cheer to elderly individuals and letting seniors know they are cared about just as much as anyone else. Meals on Wheels Director, Becky Wright, said, “The Meals on Wheels team looks forward to Santa to a Senior all year long. It’s one of our favorite partnerships, and we are very thankful for Home Instead.”

This event would not be as huge of a success without the numerous volunteers who help collect, wrap, and deliver gifts. Be a Santa to a Senior has had over 60,000 volunteers since it began fifteen years ago. Meals on Wheels volunteers were able to be a part of that large group by delivering presents to recipients in senior centers, senior towers, and individual homes a week before Christmas from December 18-20. Not only were seniors excited to receive gifts, but to have someone visit them during the holiday season.

Gift bags delivered to Meals on Wheels seniors

To date, Home Instead has provided over 1,200,000 gifts to over 700,000 deserving seniors in 12 global markets through this program. Popular items requested included alarm clocks, books, nail kits, slippers, and stationery.

United Way’s Meals on Wheels program serves over 800 meals a day to seniors and disabled individuals throughout Jefferson County. In Jefferson County alone, there are 129,800 residents who struggle with hunger. Our volunteers deliver meals to homebound residents across Jefferson County. Meals on Wheels delivers the support that helps seniors remain independent and have the ability to live in their own homes. For more information visit