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Henry and Clayton get into the gift-giving spirit

By Jaya Franklin

jfranklin@henryherald.com

Henry County Senior Services and the Council on Aging, Inc., are looking for sponsors to enroll in their annual Sponsor-A-Senior program.

Susan Craig, director of senior planning and grants administration, said the program benefits seniors in several ways.

"The benefit is twofold. It gives them a Christmas gift and let's them know that someone is thinking of them," said Craig. "The delivery of the gift means more to them than the gift itself," she added.

The program is created to provide Christmas gifts to seniors who receive in-home care services, and seniors who are 60 years old, or older. The organizations encourage groups, churches, civic organizations and other businesses to participate in the program.

Craig said there are 75 sponsors registered for this year's program.

"If someone is interested in sponsoring a senior, they should give their name by Dec. 5," said Craig. "We are still collecting toiletries [and cash donations] up to Dec. 12."

For more information on the Sponsor-A- Senior program, call (770) 288-6873.

The Clayton County Division of Family and Children Services has set Dec. 14 as the deadline to accept donations for its Pick an Elf holiday program. The Pick an Elf program is for children in foster care, child protective services, and seniors.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to sponsor a participant by filling out a sponsor form and purchasing gifts from Christmas lists.

Renee Johnson, staff development training and volunteer coordinator at Clayton's DFCS office, said the greatest task is finding people to sponsor teenagers. The office has more than 400 children in foster care.

Johnson said last year the program provided aid to more than 1,000 people.

"The lists includes a mixture of things like toys and clothes," said Johnson. Currently, 71 sponsors have signed up for this year's program.

According to the DFCS web site, participants are not obligated to sponsor an individual. They can help by purchasing gift cards from places like Old Navy, Wal-Mart, Target and more.

Gifts purchased are tax deductible. For more information on the Pick an Elf Program, call (770) 473-2490.