It is hard to have a merry Christmas when you are unable to leave your home to shop for necessities because of age or disability. It is even worse when your income is so low it forces you to choose between heat and medicine or food or soap. There are many such people in Moore County -- people who spent years working, building, and contributing and now find themselves in need of some assistance. For years, volunteers for the Santa for Seniors program have helped bring a bit of holiday cheer to them by delivering baskets of donated necessities and comfort items shortly before Christmas.
Sheila Haltom of Dumas Area Meals on Wheels and Kathy Trayler of Feeding Dumas have always been a part of Santa for Seniors, contributing time, money, and food to the cause. When it looked like the program was going to fold this year, they decided they had to act. "I don't want it to die," said Haltom. "It has been an annual thing for years, and we need to keep it that way. Close to 200 seniors depend on it every year, and they will be very disappointed. I thought about it and thought about it and decided, 'We have to do this.' Kathy came in and I said, 'I think we can pull this off.' And she said, 'I think we can, too.' "
First, the women have to have the items to give away. They will be putting decorated boxes in the offices of participating organizations: Meals on Wheels, Blessings From Above, the Dumas Police Department, the Moore County News-Press, the Dumas Fire Department, the Dumas/Moore County Chamber of Commerce, and the Moore County Probation Office. They are asking people to donate items that are essential to the comfort and happiness of aging adults: toothpaste, toothbrushes, lap blankets, small laundry baskets, shampoo, brushes, combs, paper towels, body wash, toilet paper, lotion, unscented deodorant, crossword puzzles, laundry soap, socks, band aids, Neosporin, Kleenex, canned food, Visa or Walmart gift cards, dish soap, and similar things. Haltom and Trayler ask that people give what they can -- including money. "We want people to know that the program will continue, but we can't do it without the donations," said Haltom. They request that all items and money be donated by December 13. They and other volunteers will pick up the items from the donation points and distribute them to the people they know of who need them.
The women are compiling lists of people to help. They receive a lot of names from churches and other agencies, but it is hard to reach everyone. "Sometimes there are shut-ins we don't know about," said Haltom. "You can nominate someone you know who needs help or you can nominate yourself by filling out an application and turning it in." Applications will be available at all of the donation points.
For more information, call Sheila Haltom at 806-922-5155, Tisha Tobias at 806-922-4946, or Kathy Trayler at 806-930-7603.