Before You Start Your Christmas Shopping….

The Tulsa World published a story on November 22, 2015
Julie DelCour writes: Take a moment and think about this question, which was passed on to me a few months ago (The question came from: Is your grandmother hungry?)

Following are points Ms. DelCour   made in her article   (in pink are comments made after Ms. DelCour’s story was published):

  • Seniors often must make difficult decisions between basic needs; having to do without critical medication because they needed to purchase food  or doing without food to purchase medication. But those kinds of choices are made everyday.
  • One in nine Oklahoma seniors are at risk for hunger.
  •  Social Security is the only source of income for one in three Oklahomans age 65 or older. On average, Oklahoma retirees receive about $1,206 a month from Social Security.  Most of us could not begin to make ends meet on that amount of income.   After YOU paid for your utilities, medicine, co-pays and rent (or if you own-the taxes and house insurance) how much would YOU have left for food and toilet paper, stamps to mail your bills, pay for gasoline and auto  insurance,  to get to and from the doctor? INTAKE VOLUNTEER AT A LOCAL FOOD PANTRY:  Many of the widowed, who came in, received $600 or less, PER MONTH, in Social Security and that was their entire income. DIRECTOR AT A SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER, IN A RURAL TOWN: In reality, many clients receive and attempt to live on less than $397 per month in Social Security
  • Unlike Meals on Wheels or other nonprofits that deliver meals to the elderly, disabled and shut-ins, Senior Servings, requires participants come to a site, which generally is a place where they live at or visit regularly..”  In other words, the ones who can no longer drive, and many times need it most, are the ones who get left out. However, the food bank said if I donated money to be used to help get food to Seniors that they have no way of making sure it will go to benefit hungry Seniors
  • 4 million seniors across the country are malnourished.
  • Many Seniors suffer in silence and would rather not let anyone know they need help. Many elderly will not go to a food pantry as that were raised to not expect others to take care of them.  Only 17% of all who go to food pantries are age 60 and over, but it isn’t always pride that keeps them away. Many can no longer drive or can’t leave their house. Many of the ones who get left out are the very ones who need it most.


So how can we help a hungry Senior?
Christmas, the season of giving, makes it easier to “gift” someone who needs help so they don’t see it as a hand-out.

  • A gift certificate for their favorite grocery store, deli or pharmacy. Reasors or a Walmart gift card can help them choose between a little protein, their prescription or personal items such as shampoo or toilet paper. (A check is nice but we have learned that our late dad saved the birthday checks we gave him.  He had never cashed a one. A gift card he would have used.)
  • A QuikTrip gift card can buy  gas to go to the doctor or to church.
  • Pay their gas or electric bill, so they can stay warm.
WHAT THEY DON’T NEED:  more  candles,  potpourri, perfumes, sprays,   lotions and potions, creams and soaps, makeup/nail polish, clothing or jewelry, scarves, purses/wallets, throw blanket, tea or flavored coffee, dish towels, mugs,  home decor, knick-knacks or trinkets,  keychains, etc.

Struggling to eat, many are further isolated when they don’t have sufficient food to even participate in a church potluck. Check out what this group in Chattanooga, TN is doingHarvest


At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry and you gave me ….eat…I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in. ~ Mother Teresa (See Matthew 25:35-40)

Be sure to read comments below

and also read this one

This entry was posted in Baby Boomers, Birthdays and Anniversaries, Blessings, Christmas, Elder Hunger, Finances, Great ideas!, Hungry Elderly, Hungry elders, Hungry Seniors, Neighbors, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Senior Citizens, Senior Hunger, Starving Elderly, Widow, Widowed, Widower, widowers, Widows and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Before You Start Your Christmas Shopping….

  1. Dani says:

    I just read this on

    I gather together as many widows in my community as I can find and host a big brunch for them to encourage and uplift them and help them remember they are not forgotten. Thankfully I’m not a widow myself, but I like to see how this get-together fosters networking among the ladies as they share experiences and deepen friendships.

    Elizabeth Baddour
    Covington, Tennessee

  2. Sandy says:

    “For more than 30 years, my husband and I have hosted a Christmas caroling party–even though neither of us are vocally talented. We load up a caravan of cars with family and friends and go to a low-income community a few miles down the road. Two buildings have hallways of doors that face each other, so we knock on all the doors and sing from the common area. Many seniors sing along with us through tear-filled eyes, and the children smile and appreciate the small gifts we bring them. after, we go back to the house for snacks, hot apple cider and the warm company of friends.” (Carol Carter LIFE’s Public Relations and Community Affairs Coordinator —-Found this printed in LIFE Vintage Magazine December 2015)

  3. Kiley says:

    A lady wrote Dear Amy: I am 70 and have been a widow for 30 years.
    I am a very independent person who worked hard and put my children through college. Both children live in town and I often babysit their six children and their pets, sometimes for a week at a time.
    I have reached an age where things like carrying a 50-pound bag of salt or a jug of water softener to the basement is difficult for me. I seldom ask directly for help.
    When I do ask I get this response, “Can I do it next time I visit?” I do all my own painting, cleaning, yard work, and hire a maintenance man for the rest.
    If any adult children are wondering what to get their aging parents for Christmas, how about just a little of your time? We would love that! — Tired

    AMY RESPONDED: Dear Tired: I love your gift idea. I also hope you will be just a little more assertive. If one of your children asks, “Can I do it next time I visit?” (a very reasonable question, by the way), you could be honest and say, “I feel like this can’t really wait.”

    It’s a good idea to try to schedule chores for when you know they will be with you — it might also be effective to remind them that the last time they asked you to watch the kids, you didn’t respond by saying, “Can this wait?”

  4. Kiley says:

    Points I agree with in a recent Charles Jaffe article

    *Gift Cards are practical and adults consistently preferred receiving gift cards over physical gifts
    *In a society that suffers from a horrible, growing lack of civility, ….. we need to increase communication and thoughtfulness. Make the gift a long holiday conversation, a visit or a meal

    • Dani says:

      So true… don’t have to be bought. Spending quality time with loved ones can even be better. Some activities that can be shared and be really fun: decorating the Christmas tree, baking and decorating cookies, watching your hometown parade or watching on TV, caroling with church group to nursing home or Senior Center (or low-income Senior housing) , attending the Candle Lighting service, and volunteering to serve Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner to those less fortunate

  5. Barbie says:

    November 29, 1989 Dear Abby:

    DEAR READERS: Well, it seems as though we just finished polishing off the Thanksgiving leftovers, and it’s time to start shopping for Hanukkah and Christmas gifts again.

    Because it’s been such a tragic year for those who lost their homes in Hurricane Hugo or the San Francisco quake, you may want to spend less on gifts in favor of sending money to the American Red Cross. And now we have another concern – the poor and homeless.However, if you plan on sending holiday gifts, let me tell you what not to give Aunt Bessie or Grandpa who doesn’t get around much anymore.

    Forget the cologne, after-shave and dusting powder. Chances are, they have several unopened boxes gathering dust on their closet shelves.

    Grandpa doesn’t need another paisley necktie, and Grandma doesn’t want any more bracelets, brooches or earrings. With the price of groceries going through the roof, older people who live alone on fixed incomes would appreciate a basket of practical goodies. How about small tins of tuna, chicken and ham? Also, crackers, instant coffee, tea, soup mixes and cookies.

    People who live in confined quarters do not need more “things,” so don’t send music boxes or bric-a-brac. And don’t send articles of clothing unless you’re sure the size is right. Leisure (or “warm-up”) suits are comfy and easy to launder. Older folks love them.

    Some truly useful gifts: an assortment of postcards, some lined stationery with envelopes and a generous supply of postage stamps. And enclose some felt-tip pens.

    Another suggestion: a variety of greeting cards for all occasions. They might want to send someone a nice birthday, anniversary or graduation card. Don’t forget get-well cards, condolence cards and “congratulations on the new baby” cards.

    Should you be tempted to recycle a lovely, but useless, gift still in its original box, make sure the card to you is not still in the box.

    Never give a pet to anyone unless you are absolutely certain that person wants a pet and is able to care for it properly. And if you want to make a hit with someone who has a pet, send a little holiday gift (a tin of dog or cat food) along with a gift for its master.

    Don’t give wine or liquor to people unless you are sure they imbibe. A thoughtful idea: a gift subscription for a magazine or newspaper you know they will enjoy. Candy, nuts and fruitcake make beautiful gifts for people who aren’t counting their calories, but have a little compassion for those who are, and lead them not into temptation. Also bear in mind that some older folks have difficulty chewing nuts and caramels.

    Another good idea for those living alone on a fixed income: a gift certificate for some kind of service such as window washing, carpet cleaning, taxi rides, barber shop, beauty parlor or dinner or lunch at their favorite place. And (don’t laugh) a gift certificate entitling them to a trip to the podiatrist. Because medication is no small item these days, a gift certificate from the neighborhood pharmacy would be very much appreciated. Trust me.

    Holidays can be depressing for people who are alone – loneliness is the ultimate poverty. So if you know someone who could use an outing, give him or her the best gift of all: an invitation to have a meal with you and your family.

    If you “ain’t” givin’, you’re not livin’. Love to you and yours, ABBY

    • Timmi says:

      Ideas for people in nursing homes:

      Lap robes are a necessity with the poor circulation. A ribbon or tie attached to the robe and tied to the arms of the wheelchair keeps the lap robe from slipping from the knees.
      A large patch pockets sewn onto the lap robe is convenient for tissues or whatever for the patient.

      Toilet articles are nice and help patients feel less neglected: Powder, shampoo, (Dove makes a nice dry shampoo), pretty smelling soap, hair ribbons, shaving articles for the men. Remember the small things your relative liked before- Lemonade, a manicure, pretty lipstick.

      Large print books and magazines (Guideposts and Readers Digest, for example.)
      If the person has food favorites, as special family dishes, ask the staff if you can bring some with you on occasion.

      Mark the gift with the patients name to help nurses aids to keep it straight. Sew labels in clothing

      Long sleeved shirts or blouses or flannel PJ tops that open all the way down the back for those chilly days and nights. Older people get chilled from air conditioning, even though the staff may not. Also, older folks don’t raise their arms above their head when dressing so front and back openings are helpful.

      Replace bra and slip straps with the soft lace type elastic bands. MAkes bedtime removal much easier.

      When selecting a nursing home…At the top of any list should be to choose a home close enough for easy visits by the family.

      When visiting take along a sewing kit for missing buttons, a loose zipper or other necessary stitches. Watch for the missing tie strings on robes.

  6. M.L says:

    Be sure you read this one about not buying knick knacks for mom.

    A person in their 60s barely surviving on Social Security got a care package from friends with cookies, candy and canned meats. They would have preferred money to pay overdue bills.

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