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"Elder Elves" spread holiday cheer to local seniors

"Elder Elves" spread holiday cheer to local seniors
Posted at 7:05 PM, Dec 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-24 14:21:35-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - While elves in the North Pole have been busy making gifts for kids, Elder Elves are bringing joy to another special crowd.

Elder Care services, case workers and the community have brought senior citizens in the community some Christmas joy for the last 15 years.

"To come out to someone's home that you wouldn't even be able to tell otherwise that it was the Christmas holiday because they just can't afford the extras and the trimmings," says Ed Gines, Senior Solutions Specialist for Elder Care Services. "This is just a blessing to be a part of and one of my favorite time of the year"

It starts with a list full of modest items, anything from cleaning supplies to robes, and it turns into a room full of donated gifts for the seniors. Simple everyday items that mean so much.

"It started off small with several clients that were in need of items and things they couldn't afford and it's grown every year since," explains Gines. 

And when it comes time to deliver, those Elder Elves and seniors are excited. Gene and Theresa Jones have had an Elder Elf wish list for two years, but they're just as thankful as ever.

"It's just a blessing," exclaims Theresa Jones, an Elder Elf Recipient. "I just get so excited when the gifts come in and the people are so nice. Anyway, we just appreciate everything. And Gene, he's feeling it now, I believe."

Although the Jones' wanted to wait until Christmas to open their gifts, those delivering convinced them it was OK to open one early. And inside? Slippers for Gene!

"At our age, to have something to put on, you know, comfortable, to sit back in and watch television, to slide your feet in, go to the restroom, whatever it is," says Jones. "It just means a lot because sometimes we just aren't able to get out, and sometimes our finances, you know. It's just a blessing!"

They're not the only ones getting excited about these gifts.

"I actually received a call from a senior who received her gifts," says Nicole Ballas, Fund Development with Elder Care Services. "She was saying she got shampoo and conditioner and that she had run out of her shampoo earlier in the week. She was so excited to receive that shampoo because she was worried about what she was going to do."

Gines has seen the same thing across so many lists: simple gift requests and excitement upon opening. "They're very modest requests, but they mean a lot to the elders. Otherwise it's just not in their budget."

The Elder Elf program has ended for this year, but Elder Care Services welcomes donations of non-perishable foods, blankets, heaters, and fans all year round. 

Elder Care Website: https://eldercarebigbend.org/home