Cape Gazette

Santa gets help at Cape Henlopen Senior Center

Volunteers wrap hundreds of Christmas gifts for seniors statewide.
By Molly MacMillan | Jan 01, 2014
Photo by: Molly MacMillan Gift-wrapping volunteers and organizers including (l-r) Carol McClellan, Rae Short, Mary Rolio, Michele Rudzik, Eileen Polini, Joy Bohan and Helen Capodanno break into song at the Cape Henlopen Senior Center as they wrap presents for the Be a Santa to a Senior program.

In this, the sixth year of Be a Santa to a Senior Christmas gift program at Cape Henlopen Senior Center in Rehoboth Beach, organizers report they have stayed busy wrapping and delivering gifts for more than 3,000 senior citizens south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.

The joint program between Cape Henlopen Senior Center, various community agencies and Home Instead Senior Care provides wrapped gifts to senior citizens who may not be able to spent the holiday with loved ones, Program Director Bernita Hackney said.

"We partner with Home Instead Home Care for the Be a Santa to a Senior program," Hackney said. "There are many seniors who may not have family or live alone. We want to bring joy to them this Christmas season by giving them a gift."

The price range of gifts is left mostly to the discretion of the buyer, she said, although there is a list of suggested, unisex gifts such as bedroom slippers that anyone can use.

Also among the gifts at the senior center were 25 handmade quilts, donated by quilters from The Glade.

This year a gift surplus is unlikely because a record number of seniors have responded that they are in need of assistance at participating facilities across Lower Delaware, Home Instead representative Rae Short said.

"This year is the most seniors that have ever responded," Short said. "We deliver gifts to our seniors who are disadvantaged; who really don't have anyone or anything. We just don't want people to feel forgotten."

With more gifts to wrap, organizers at the senior center said they were glad to see nearly double the number of volunteers show up to wrap gifts before distribution from the senior center to facilities where seniors will receive their gifts.

Despite the cold and rainy Tuesday when volunteers wrapped gifts, Laurel Detzi said she was happy to volunteer for a good cause.

"We like to volunteer," Detzi said of herself and her husband, Jim. "Any volunteer opportunity, we're there. It's good to volunteer and you feel good after it."

Gifts for seniors will be distributed to those who have registered through various senior and community centers through Kent and Sussex counties.

Volunteers Jim and Laurel Detzi take a break from gift-wrapping at the Be a Santa to a Senior gift-wrap party. (Photo by: Molly MacMillan)
Cape Henlopen Senior Center program coordinator Bernita Hackney says her office was "swamped with gifts" after their adopt-a-senior Christmas gift program. (Photo by: Molly MacMillan)
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