Many local senior citizens need to know they're not forgotten during the holidays, said Sarah Hevner, office manager at Home Instead Senior Care in West Manchester Township.

"There's a lot of seniors around York County who do not receive visits," she said. "With our Be a Santa to a Senior program, they get visits with a gift."

To help make the holidays a joyous occasion and to connect older citizens with the community, Home Instead is conducting its sixth annual Be a Santa to a Senior gift-giveaway program.

The program - which begins Wednesday and runs through Thursday, Dec. 13 - is presented throughout North America by Omaha, Neb.-based Home Instead Senior Care, which oversees the West Manchester Township facility.

To compile a list of seniors who need gifts, Home Instead received names and gift needs from local nursing homes and senior care agencies.

Also part of the local Be a Santa effort are Manor Care Health Services, Rest Haven Nursing Home, York County Area Agency on Aging, Hanover Hall in Hanover and Serene Manor of Abbottstown, Adams County.

How it works: The seniors' first names and their gift requests will be written on ornaments to be attached to Christmas trees set up at Boscov's Department Store at the York Galleria, 2989 Whiteford Road in Springettsbury Township, and at Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, 1855 Powder Mill Road in York Township.

Gift donors can select an ornament, purchase a present and return the unwrapped items - with the ornaments attached - to the places where the trees are set up.

Seniors' gift requests include personal care items, pajamas, socks, slippers and warm weather gear, Hevner said.

Home Instead volunteers will collect the items and wrap them between Dec. 16 and Dec, 19. The wrapped gifts will then be delivered to the local senior care facilities for distribution, Hevner said.

More gifts: Close to 1,000 gift items were distributed to about 700 seniors last year. So far this year, more than 650 seniors are signed up to receive gifts, Hevner said.

"It's pure joy for them when they receive their gifts " she said. "They're grateful that people thought about them. Sometimes there's tears because they feel they haven't been forgotten."

-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.

At a Glance

The Be a Santa to a Senior gift giveaway program began Wednesday and runs through Thursday, Dec. 13.

The public can get gift-buying ideas for seniors from the ornaments on Christmas trees set up at Boscov's Department Store at the York Galleria, 2801 Whiteford Road, in Springettsbury Township, and at Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, 1855 Powder Mill Road in York Township.

Home Instead Senior Care needs volunteers to help wrap gifts and needs donations of wrapping paper and tape.

To help, call Home Instead Senior Care at 741-9999. For information about gift-giving project, visit its website at www.beasantatoasenior.org.