Attention Santas, there’s a new giving tree in the county administration building

Home Instead Senior Care has one more place to put a giving tree and one more opportunity for Portage County folks to make the holidays a bit more cheerful for seniors.

Commissioners agreed Dec. 1 to place a “Be a Santa to a Senior” tree in the lobby of the County Administration Building at 449 S. Meridian St. in Ravenna.

The tree will be decorated with ornaments containing seniors’ requests. Simply choose an ornament and return the new, unwrapped gift (with the ornament) to the nearby security office, also on the first floor of the building.

Home Instead’s “Be a Santa to a Senior” is not new but was halted during the pandemic.

“Our seniors in Portage County have often lost their spouses, their family members, their friends,” said Theresa Zdesar, owner of Home Instead Senior Care. “They find themselves alone at the holidays. This program was created not to just to deliver a present of need but to deliver, really, the gift of human spirit.”

Home Instead’s small army of volunteers, which includes County Commissioner Sabrina Christian-Bennett and area first responders, will deliver the gifts. Zdesar said the Portage County 4-H and Girl Scout troops are making cards to accompany each gift.

Additional trees are located at the Aurora Senior Center, 129 W. Pioneer Trail; Family & Community Services, 705 Oakwood St. in Ravenna; Garrettsville Library, 10482 South St.; Kent Fire Department, 320 S. Depeyster St.; Mantua Station Drug Store, 10870 State Route 44; Rootstown Community Pharmacy, 4211 State Route 44; and at Portage Community Bank’s Ravenna, Kent and Rootstown offices.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.