Office for Aging plans annual gift drive

Colin Montgomery, left, Santa’s helper, delivers a holiday gift to Cora Gotham as part of the St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging’s sixth annual Holiday Gift Drive in 2019. Provided photo

CANTON — The eighth annual Holiday Gift Drive, sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging, is now accepting contributions to purchase gift cards for older adults enrolled in the home meal program.

From now until Dec. 1, the OFA will be collecting financial contributions to purchase gift cards and gift items for their clients who are most in need.

“This is our eighth year of sponsoring the holiday gift drive for older adults who are in our home delivered meal program,” OFA Director Andrea Montgomery said. “In the past, we had collected gift items and made gift baskets to give out to people but abiding by COVID restrictions, we switched to collecting contributions and we are sending out gift cards with their meals to help make their holidays a little brighter.”

Names of seniors who are enrolled in the meal program will be put into a hat, and those whose names are drawn will receive a gift card.

“We do as many as we can,” Ms. Montgomery said. “We have about 650 home delivered meal clients. While we would love to give each of them a $25 gift card, that would be a ton of money, but you never know. Every year we grow a little bit bigger and are able to give away about 50 more gifts than we were the year before.”

Last year, the Holiday Gift Drive handed out more than 250 gift cards. Every year, each senior also receives a holiday card.

“We work with local schools and we have the kids draw pictures and make pictures for our older adults,” Ms. Montgomery said. “A lot of our clients don’t have a lot of family who live nearby so it’s just something we all do to help out with that.”

Ms. Montgomery noted seniors in the program use the gift cards for a wide variety of things, including food, prescriptions, pet food and more.

“It’s an easy way to make a huge difference in a senior citizen’s life,” Ms. Montgomery said. “They’re just so happy to be thought of during the holidays. It’s not even about the gift, it’s the thought behind it, it’s the fact that someone cared enough to think of them.”

Those who want to contribute can do so by sending gift cards or checks made out to the OFA. Contributions should be mailed to St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging, Attention: Andrea Montgomery, 80 State Highway 310, Suite 7, Canton, N.Y. 13617.

“We just ask people to add a note that it’s for the Holiday Gift Drive, so we can make sure the money is allocated to the appropriate account,” Ms. Montgomery said. “They can do any amount that they want, it’s really up to what the person can give.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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