JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The holidays aren't going to be "merry" for many seniors, but Region 8 residents have an opportunity to change that.
Senior Christmas Trees are set up in multiple business locations throughout the area.
On these special trees are paper ornaments with the name of a senior in need.
Beneath the name of the senior is a list of items they could use such as a blanket, house shoes or pajamas.
One of those trees is at the Walmart location on Parker Road in Jonesboro.
Assistant manager Justin Stevenson said they've participated in the Christmas giving drive for several years.
"We feel like there are a lot of seniors out there who don't have family," Stevenson said. "They need somebody. They need someone to buy them gifts and show they care. We have some great customers that come in and see this tree and they're interested."
This drive is organized by Home Instead Senior Care.
Each tree is filled with the names of seniors living in the same area the tree is set up in.
For instance, a tree set up in a Jonesboro store is filled with the names of Jonesboro seniors.
A tree found in Paragould will contain Paragould seniors.
"Customers come in and they see this tree and they love it," Stevenson said. "Every year, they're looking for it. They want to help these seniors out and get their gifts. So, it's a great program and we're going to continue it."
Stevenson said they've already had a great response from the public.
"This tree was originally full when we first put it up," Stevenson said. "So, we've already gone through at least 20 people who have had gifts bought for them. So, we're off to a good start."
Stevenson said the process for purchasing a Christmas gift for a senior is simple.
"You purchase a gift or gifts at the register," Stevenson said. "Then you just bring it up to customer service. You bring it up unwrapped. You don't wrap it. We'll take care of that. You just leave it at customer service and we'll take care of the rest."
Stevenson said many customers who pull one of the ornaments from the tree know first-hand how large the need for Region 8 seniors is.
"A lot of the customers who buy gifts have relatives in nursing homes," Stevenson said. "They buy their relatives stuff, but also know there are a lot of people in nursing homes that don't have relatives who are going to buy them things. So, when they see this tree they come up and are excited. They feel like they're helping just like they would want someone to help their relative if they couldn't."
Stevenson said when you are buying gifts for your family and friends, stop and think about those who have no one.
"Just think about everyone else that doesn't have someone," Stevenson said. "No one is going to buy them anything this year for Christmas. And a lot of these are things they need. Like a blanket, house shoes, socks or pajamas. You see this tree and you see them on there and these people need these things and they don't have anyone to give it to them. So, come up and make a difference. Make somebody happy. Give them a happy Christmas."
They're trying to get gifts for around four hundred seniors in the Region 8 area.
Senior trees are set up at Walmart in Trumann and on Parker Road in Jonesboro; at Walgreens on Red Wolf Boulevard, Nettleton and Highland Drive in Jonesboro and the Walgreens location in Paragould.
The Kroger Grocery Store in Jonesboro is also housing a tree.
Senior trees will be up until Dec. 12.
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