Christmas gifts delivered to dozens of needy seniors

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Mrs. B called the local offices of the Missouri Division of Health and Senior Services in tears Thursday after her gifts from Christmas for the Elderly were delivered and again Friday morning.

She didn't think she was worthy of any of the presents, and she thought she'd received far more than she needed. "Did you buy the whole store out?" she asked.

Dozens of senior citizens in need received gifts Thursday from Christmas for the Elderly. The program is a joint effort of the Southeast Missourian and Cape Girardeau Jaycees that provides household necessities and Christmas gifts to the community's elderly.

"This is a major effort of the community," said Kim McDowell, who helps coordinate the program for the Southeast Missourian.

"These people have very special needs," she said. "And we try to make sure that everyone has exactly what they need."

Employees from the Southeast Missourian and division of health delivered the sacks of items, which included bedding, towels and some clothing and toiletries.

Jed Payne, a newspaper employee, hadn't delivered for the elderly program before. "It was cool," he said. At the first delivery stop, he had to unload and put away all the items because Mrs. T is blind.

"I got to stick around longer than expected," Payne said.

And Mrs. T. received a new mug and stocking that she opened while he was there, feeling the glitter on the stocking and the writing on the mug.

Some people received extra-special gifts donated by clubs and businesses like Alliance Water, the Cape Girardeau License Bureau, Lone Star and a group known as the "Old Goats" coffee klatch.

'All kinds of things'

The money provided by the "Old Goats" bought the apartment-sized refrigerator that Mr. F needed. It also provided a water heater for a woman in need. Hacker Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Inc. has agreed to install the heater at no cost.

"People donated all kinds of things," said Lisa Seabaugh, a Cape Girardeau Jaycee who helped organize the collection.

Mrs. J cried when she realized that she'd received everything she asked for and more. Donations helped pay for her new microwave as well as new skirts, shoes and sheets.

One woman knitted 50 lap robes and donated them, Seabaugh said.

Each client also received a fruit basket and gift certificates.

"There is a good turnout for donations for the elderly," Seabaugh said. "It's needed. It will all be used to distribute as it's needed."

Tax-deductible donations can still be made to Christmas for the Elderly, P.O. Box 4, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63702-0004.

ljohnston@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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