By Nathan Ham
With Christmas just a couple of weeks away, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office alongwith WAMY Community Action and Watauga County Project on Aging are trying to make the holiday season a little brighter for senior citizens in the High Country.
People have been dropping off Christmas bags full of gifts, such as blankets, candy, puzzles, snacks, socks, slippers, lotion, lip balm and cards and many other comfort items to help make Christmas special for senior citizens who may not have family gatherings to go to or are in assisted living centers.
According to Chief Deputy Kelly Redmon, the project has been really popular with folks around the community
“We partnered with the Project on Aging and WAMY and it has taken off. Our goal was 300 bags and we are just a little bit short of that so if anybody wants to bring some in we are collecting until Friday at 5 p.m.,” he said. “Oftentimes I think on our busy days we tend to overlook certain groups and this is one we thought would be a good cause. We are humbled by the public’s generosity and we can still use some more. I am sure there are people out there that need a little love at Christmas time.”
Bags will be divided up and some will be given out by the Project on Aging staff and others wil be given out next Tuesday at the Western Watauga Center.
“If we’re lucky we’ll see Sheriff Hagaman out there giving out some of these bags for those that want to come driving by,” Redmon said. “The Project on Aging has good contacts but if they have difficulty getting them delivered then we’ve got deputies ready to help. If you know a senior that you would like have one of these bags delivered to, contact us or Project on Aging. We would be glad to get it to them.”
The sheriff’s office is located at 184 Hodges Gap Road.
Administrative assistant Julie Farthing has seen so many people come by with Christmas bags for these senior citizens, she said it really puts a smile on her face.
“Everybody has been so generous, but when they come in and see what the community has already started offering for our seniors, they just light up. This is a big part of Christmas, the giving part is what everybody seems to enjoy,” Farthing said. “The senior population sometimes gets overlooked a lot of times. They are home alone and they don’t have a way of getting out and enjoying Christmas like a lot of us do. Sometimes they don’t have family members and this gives them a little bit of warmth and love for Christmas. That’s our main goal is to make sure they are not forgotten.”
WAMY Community Action serves the needs of many less fortunate individuals in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties. Donations for the Santa for Seniors drive can be left at the sheriff’s office, Boone Police Department, Peak Insurance Group, Go Postal and the three WAMY locations in Boone (225 Birch Street), Newland (723 Cranberry Street) and Spruce Pine (469-A Balsam Avenue).
If you have questions or need more information, call WAMY at 828-264-2421 or Watauga County Project on Aging at 828-265-8090.