100 seniors get early Christmas gifts
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Wednesday, deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department loaded up dozens of presents and set out to be a Santa to nearly 100 seniors. “It’s just a great feeling to see smiles come on their faces,” says Deputy Paul Tyler with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. A smile like James Thompson’s. “It makes you feel good, like you did good all year, you know?,” says Thompson, a senior who received a gift. James is just one of many seniors in the Midlands who is receiving a gift for Christmas; a present so many think will never come. “The most classic comment I got, we walked up to the door with the gift and the senior said, she started to cry, and she said, “I didn’t think you would come,” says Rene Kilburn, owner of Home Instead Senior Care. For the past three years, Rene Kilburn has delivered the gifts to seniors in Columbia. “It’s all about seniors who may be isolated or not even remembered at all at Christmas,” says Kilburn. This year Home Instead has partnered with several other organizations and local businesses to make Christmas wishes come true. Those include, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Project Hope, Pink Sorbet and Chick-fil-A. “What you are seeing this morning is what Christmas is all about,” says Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. But the organizations did not do it alone. “We’ve had the community just turn out in droves to help us out,” says Sheriff Lott. “It’s really about community partnership and coming together to help seniors,” says Kilburn. “They’ve adopted a senior, who may have not had a smiling heart at Christmas because nobody would have given them a present,” says Sheriff Lott. Over the past 3 years, the program has grown. “It’s just a great feeling to know that with times as tough as they are, people are still willing to sacrifice,” says Deputy Tyler. This year alone the program is helping more than one hundred seniors, that’s nearly forty more than last year. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, for making a senior’s Christmas just a little bit brighter,” says Sheriff Lott.