Be a Santa to a Senior returns to Sudbury

Rayanne Henri, left, and owner Lisette Wirta, of Home Instead Senior Care in Sudbury, Ont., get gifts ready on Friday December 14, 2018, for a wrapping party as part of Home Instead Senior Care's Be a Santa to a Senior program. The program is returning. John Lappa/Sudbury Star

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The holiday season is the season of giving and a time to share smiles with those around you. As you gather to drink hot cocoa and sing carols with family and friends, it’s important to remember there are seniors in your community who would love to celebrate. But many seniors live alone, without someone to share this special time.

Home Instead Senior Care is once again offering Sudbury and surrounding communities a chance to spread joy to local seniors. Through the Be a Santa to a Senior program, community members can give a senior a special holiday gift. Since the program’s inception in 2003, Be a Santa to a Senior has mobilized more than 60,000 volunteers, provided approximately 2.1 million gifts and brightened the season for more than 700,000 deserving seniors nationwide. Last year, more than 400 Sudbury area seniors received gifts from the community.

“The Be a Santa to a Senior program is all about including seniors in the joy of the holiday season,” Lisette Wirta, owner of the Sudbury Home Instead Senior Care office, said. “A simple gift shows them they are a loved and vital member of our community.”

Be a Santa to a Senior is a true community program, with generous support from Sudbury businesses, non-profit organizations, numerous volunteers and members of the community. Home Instead has partnered with local long-term care, community and retirement homes who will provide referrals for seniors who could use a gift and students from local public schools will help with making holiday cards.

It’s easy to help. Visit one of the participating locations listed below and look for the Be a Santa to a Senior trees, which are on display from now until Dec. 12. The trees will be decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and gift suggestions. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it with the ornament attached. There’s no need to worry about wrapping — community volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.

“While it may seem like a small act of kindness, it can really make a difference for someone over the festive season,” Wirta said. “Watching seniors open the gifts they received through Be a Santa to a Senior and seeing the smiles and appreciation on their faces is one of my favourite parts of the holidays.”

Trees can be found at the following locations: Home Instead Senior Care Sudbury, 2009 Long Lake Rd. unit 303; Azilda public library, 120 Ste-Agnes St.; the building services department at city hall, 200 Brady St.; Giant Tiger, 2208 Lasalle Blvd.; Hart Department Store, 12-4764 Regional Road 15 in Chelmsford; Hart Department Store, 5085 Hwy 69 North in Hanmer; Hart Department Store, 40 Elm St.; Lively public library, 15 Kin Dr. unit A; Parkside Centre, 140 Durham St.; Valley East public library, 4100 Elmview Dr. in Hanmer.

For more information about the program, visit or call 226-270-0711. For more information about how you can help seniors in your community, visit

Twitter: @SudburyStar