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SGRC Provides Baskets of Love for Area Seniors

Annually, during the month of December, staff members of the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC) participate in a project to donate “baskets of love” to seniors in the region. The project provides seniors with a Christmas they will not soon forget.

SGRC staff members, from both the Valdosta Office and the Waycross Office, volunteered to donate various items for the baskets. Staff of the Aging Division also devoted a portion of their time to the tasks of assembling the baskets and coordinating the delivery of them to area senior centers. Senior center managers assisted by selecting seniors who would most benefit from receipt of the baskets. A total of 40 seniors were given baskets filled with prac-tical items such as blankets, food, cleaning supplies, and toiletries.

As one site manager explained, “The seniors who received the baskets were brought to tears by the items they received. They commented on how the baskets were a blessing because they often go without essential items due to a lack of resources.”

People may not think of paper towels or toothpaste as a gift, but many seniors who have little to no access to basic items greatly need and appreciate these things. Perhaps many are unaware of the number of area seniors living in poverty. According to the 2018 Georgia County Guide, thirteen of the area’s eighteen counties have a higher percentage of seniors 65 and over living in poverty than that of the state average. Seniors in the Southern region are also more likely to live alone.

These challenges, coupled with the fact that the area is largely rural and sparsely populated, make it all the more difficult for seniors in the area to have their needs met.

SGRC staff members look forward to participating in the project each year. “There is an astonishing number of seniors who lack access to items that we take for granted,” said Shawn Taylor. “It is very rewarding to know that we are making a difference in the lives of so many seniors by providing a happier Christmas.”