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Kinney Drugs asks you to “Be a Santa For a Senior”

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Tis the season for giving — to senior citizens.

One way that is being accomplished as the Christmas holiday approaches is through Kinney Drugs’ annual “Be a Santa for a Senior” giving tree program. All stores have an artificial Christmas tree with paper ornaments that have the name of a local senior and items he or she may enjoy.

“Our main demographic are middle-aged to older adults,” said Katie Dolan, Kinney Drugs marketing coordinator. “Everyone knows a senior who may not be celebrating (holidays) with family.”

She said each store partners with a local nursing home, senior housing complex or elsewhere a group of seniors may reside or visit in order to get names and people’s interests. People who select tags can simply shop throughout the store as they pick up their own items, before heading home, she said.

The Kinney Drugs at 1304 Washington St. has been collecting items for residents of Samaritan Keep Home, while the one at 401 State St., Carthage, worked with the skilled nursing unit at Carthage Area Hospital. All paper ornaments on the tree at the Carthage site were gone midway through the program, which began around Thanksgiving and ends Dec. 14.

Some seniors who use the Lewis County Office for the Aging will receive gifts from customers at the 7395 Utica Blvd., Lowville, while the store at 40 Route 310, Canton, has collected goods for residents at Maplewood.

Late last week many tags were still left on the Washington Street store tree. A woman named Shirley requested Elvis memorabilia and a sweatshirt, while Betty asked for perfume, shampoo and socks, and Mary requested a lap blanket.

“Usually we want to fulfill what’s on the gift tag, but when people are (more) generous, it’s not a bad thing,” Ms. Dolan said.

The company, she said, has participated in “Be a Santa for a Senior” since 2011. It was based on a Vermont senior care business’s program, “Be a Santa to a Senior.’

Kinney Drugs has locations in both Vermont and New York, with eight in Jefferson County, one in Lewis County, and 10 throughout St. Lawrence County.

Kinney offers several donation programs throughout the year, including a toy drive, which is going on now, and a food and school-supply drive.

Items for seniors should be returned unwrapped to the Kinney Drugs the tags were taken from. Tags should go back with gifts purchased. Ms. Dolan said Kinney Drugs will donate wrapping paper so the senior sites can wrap the gifts.

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