Fresno home care service bringing holiday cheer to seniors

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For a 20th year, Fresno's Home Instead is making sure seniors in the Central Valley aren't forgotten this holiday season.

"When you're isolated, you think no one cares about you and you receive a gift, it just makes your day and it makes your holiday," said Fresno Home Instead President Pennie Phillips-Long.

She says each year, thousands of gifts are distributed through the Be a Santa to a Senior program adding, "Their eyes light up, tears in their eyes! You can't replace that. It's such a great feeling to know you brought joy into their lives. "

Serving Fresno and Madera Counties, Home Instead places caregivers with seniors where they live to offer basic needs ranging from running errands to companionship.

During the holidays, they partner with nursing homes, low-income agencies and veteran homes to expand their reach beyond their clients.

Phillips-Long says, "Many times, it's 1,200 to 2,000 gifts. We can't always provide enough and that's why we reach out to the community. We want to involve as many people as we can."

Client care manager Lisa Joslin says they have roughly 70 clients that have served in the military.

She says, "They've seen and been through a lot over the years. They have battle wounds, war stories and some are dealing with PTSD."

Joslin says the most rewarding part of her job is seeing the community give back.

"The little things matter -- they make a difference and maybe taking a few minutes or $20 to $30 to spend it makes a huge difference to know someone's thinking of them," she said.

Items needed include gloves, hats and lap blankets.

Getting involved is as simple as picking up a gift or monetary donation and bringing it to the northeast Fresno location of Home Instead. You can contribute virtually by going to the Be a Santa to a Senior website Just put in your zip code and start online shopping.
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