RICHMOND (WRIC) - A special program is bringing holiday cheer to area seniors.
For several seniors around town, Christmas is coming a little early.
8News cameras were rolling as Henrico firefighters dropped off gifts to Mrs. Edith, affectionately called "Omi," leaving her without words.
That's why the "Be a Santa to a Senior" program is so special. "Omi" is one of many seniors who would otherwise be lonely during the holidays.
"This particular time is kind of sad for my family," she says. "We lost my son, well it's going to be three years on Christmas Eve."
Her son, Torsten passed away on Christmas Eve of 2010 from stage 4 cancer. He died suddenly at 42 years old leaving behind his wife and two kids. On most days, the only friendly faces "Omi" sees are the ones on her living room wall.
Home Instead Senior Care runs the "Be a Santa to a Senior" program. Over the past five years, the national company has delivered millions of gifts to lonely seniors. And it's something that couldn't be done without support from the local community.
"With wrapping gifts, with the delivery of the gifts, with providing the gifts," says Teresa Steinfatt of Home Instead Senior Care. "I can't thank those folks enough who have it in their hearts to provide these gifts to help us with this program."
Kids even lend a hand, using their artistic talents to decorate the gift bags and the firefighters do more than play Santa.
"We love giving the gifts, but our real joy is making sure that their home is safe," says Jon Reinmuth of Henrico Fire Dept. Community Services.
The firefighters check out the smoke alarms, heating system and make sure seniors have a way out of their house if there's a problem.
It lets seniors like "Omi" know they are loved, especially at Christmas time.
The "Be a Santa to a Senior" program is definitely Positively Richmond and it's one of many community outreach programs through Home Instead Senior Care.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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