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Program gives holiday gifts to seniors in need

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Published:   |   Updated: December 18, 2013 at 09:34 AM

SPRING HILL - Slippers. Razors and shaving cream. A single CD.

The wish lists for Hernando County seniors in need were far less extravagant than their younger counterparts and consisted more of necessities than niceties.

On Wednesday, volunteers with the local "Be a Santa to a Senior Program" helped wrap gifts and assemble bags of stocking stuffers.

The gifts will be distributed this week to about 400 Hernando County seniors who are low-income or underserved.

The gifts were either donated by local individuals or companies. A major benefit, held earlier this month at Rookies with local celebrities working as wait staff, was a main revenue source, said the Hernando County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Denise Moloney, who also serves on the program's committee.

"These little gifts make a big difference," Moloney said. "They're happy someone is thinking of them."

Moloney explained the sheriff's office has participated in the program in past years in Pasco County. This is the first year the program is taking place in Hernando County.

"We're very happy to bring it here," Moloney said.

Maureen Reiser, owner of Home Instead Senior Care, said the Spring Hill location of the adult homecare company opened last year.

"There's been an outpouring of generosity (from the community)," Reiser said.

Reiser said the seniors in the program were identified through local assisted living facilities, churches and programs such as Mid Florida Community Services and Meals on Wheels.

"Needy can mean loneliness too," Reiser said, which is why an estimated 50 volunteers will personally deliver the gifts to their recipients.

Reiser said the event organizers and volunteers were examples of an "amazing force at doing the right thing."

Those interested in helping deliver the gifts can call Home Instead Senior Care's main line at (352) 340-5900.

wbiddlecombe@hernando today.com

(352) 544-5283

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