Veteran delivers ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ gifts to another veteran

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 3:36 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -672 seniors across Linn County are receiving gifts this holiday season through the ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ program. The program through Home Instead gifts seniors on fixed incomes.

Earl Schwartz served in the Navy. He and his wife Donna have been married 42 years.

”She’s bedridden. She got, I don’t know what kind of cancer you call it, but she can’t put no weight on her right leg,” Schwartz explained.

Through the ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ program the couple is receiving gifts in time for Christmas, purchased by someone they likely don’t know.

”Very proud and happy that somebody is thinking about us and we think about the rest of the people too,” said Schwartz.

Each year with the help of the community, Home Instead gifts hundreds of seniors in Linn County for the holidays. People pick up tags at area Hy-Vee stores, shop for the listed senior, and then return the gifts to the store to be delivered.

”I want to thank Cedar Rapids for abundantly blessing our seniors again this year and our veterans,” said Sherry Peterson, Office Manager at Home Instead.

This year around 150 veterans were on the list to receive gifts. Home Instead tries to have veterans deliver to other veterans when possible.

Dan Spahn served in the Navy and has been delivering through this program for 10 years. Tuesday that meant sending gifts home for Schwartz and his wife.

”Give him a little Christmas cheer, a little bit to take home to his wife,” said Spahn.

“I think she really appreciates it,” Schwartz said.