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Beatrice senior citizen gift program back for 6th year

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Santa Program

The Beatrice Home Instead Senior Care team stands in front of a table of soon-to-be gifts. In the coming weeks, the team will fill gift bags for locals as part of their Be a Santa to a Senior program.

It’s an act of kindness, the least they could do, to the team at Beatrice Home Instead.

During the holidays and the promise of family gathering, Lindsey Clabaugh and Kim Seggerman’s thoughts drift to the doors that go unknocked, the kitchens that go unsmelling of snowman sugar cookies and cranberry sauce.

The team has worked to assemble a trove of gifts to distribute across the local area for Home Instead’s Be a Santa to a Senior Program, six years running in Beatrice.

“This is a way to give back to the communities we serve,” Seggerman, a client care coordinator, said. “This is a program not just for our clients. It is for individuals who are at home that may not otherwise receive a gift at Christmas. Maybe they’re financially challenged or they don’t have family around.”

Clabaugh, the franchise co-owner with her husband, Tyler, said the holiday season can be isolating for senior citizens, especially during a pandemic.

“We see some of the needs people had,” Clabaugh said. “They took care of us, so we should take care of them. We want to make their Christmas special.”

Beatrice Home Instead covers a range of 4,000 square miles, across Gage County and down into Kansas. Day-to-day, the group helps provide basic needs to senior citizens.

“We help with everything that you need help with at home that is non-medical,” Seggerman said. “So your cooking, your cleaning, laundry, changing the bedding, going to the grocery store, running errands … We are their family.”

Last year, the Be a Santa to a Senior program delivered 120 gifts to people in the local area. This year, Seggerman said they’ll likely deliver 150. Seggerman and Clabaugh said it takes a village to run the program. Beatrice Home Instead receives donations from churches, businesses, community organizations and individuals.

Students at St. Paul’s Lutheran School decorated gift bags, which will, smeared with glitter and glued-on paper clippings, cover the floor of the Beatrice Home Instead side room in the weeks to come.

“This room will turn into kind of a zoo,” Clabaugh said. “It will be covered with glitter.”

Those gift bags will become repositories of community gift donations—soaps, chocolates, gift cards—each packaged by the Home Instead team with equal value and care, Clabaugh said.

“Everybody gets one of each thing,” Clabaugh said. “We do try to personalize it to our client for what they might want or might need. We try to make it specific for them as much as we can.”

Seggerman and Clabaugh said there are ample ways to get involved and donate to the program. You can call or stop into the office or find one of the group’s Christmas trees located in businesses around the town that have specific donation requests hanging from them.

Home Instead is accepting donations until Friday, Dec. 10.

“We’re given such a gift to be able to help people and to bring them joy,” Seggerman said. “That’s ultimately what it comes down to.”

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