Senior Citizens In Need Of Christmas Help

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

Toy drives for kids this time of year are popular, but the young at heart need gifts, too.

The elderly are sometimes over-looked during the holiday season, and one group is trying to change that even while facing financial trouble.

70-year-old Kathi Raffone is really just a big kid, especially around Christmas time.

"I get excited wondering what's going to be in the box," Raffone said.

But she wouldn't have that without Ingham County Triad, a non-profit group of law enforcement and community members who work together with the elderly. Their focus now is a holiday basket donation program called "No Senior Without Christmas" for more than 300 local home-bound seniors.

"The seniors that we take care of are indigent, they are by themselves, they have no family," Ingham County Triad Volunteer Bonny Klacking said. "They're living at poverty and below poverty levels. So, the baskets that we provide help ease their financial burden so that they can have the necessities."

The baskets include donated basics like tissues, soap, shampoo, and towels, plus some homemade items, too.

"Things like that are really, really important when you're counting pennies," Raffone said. "It makes a happier holiday."

The baskets aren't quite as full as they'd like them to be right now, just a little over week before they're supposed to deliver them. Ingham County Triad is low on donations, they're working with about $5,000 less than what they usually need for No Senior Without Christmas, and they're worried the holiday might not be the same for some seniors this year.

"I can't imagine trying to cut down the list, and say 'These hundred seniors can't have a basket' when everyone has such a great need," Klacking said. "So, whenever funds aren't received, obviously, you have to make cuts."

She said they'll try to work with whatever they get, but Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth hopes it doesn't come to that. He's helped with the program for years.

"I think we have an obligation to make sure people aren't forgotten at special times of the year," Sheriff Wriggelsworth said. "There's a particular reward for all of us to do that."

Because as the seniors recognize, it's better to give than to receive.

"Even the needy people have something to give, even if it's just a grateful heart," Raffone said.

If you want to help, you can find out more information or donate online at inghamcountytriad.org.

The baskets are supposed to be delivered on Dec. 12. Any money left over will be used for other programs Ingham County Triad offers throughout the year.


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