‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ organizer honors grandparents by helping the less fortunate

Positively Tennessee

Founder began organizing the event 3 years ago to honor her grandparents

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — There’s an art to wrapping a gift and Ashley Lynch has it down. She is working on a present for someone she doesn’t even know. It will go to a senior at a nursing home or assisted living center in our area for Christmas.

It’s part of the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program that Ashley started three years ago in honor of her grandparents.

“I’m carrying on my grandparents’ legacy,” she says. “I want to honor them in a way that gives back, and this has been a passion of mine for quite a while, with realizing that there are elderly folks that are less fortunate than mine were and they need love, too, and a smile.”

Wish lists hang on trees outside, between Bed Bath and Beyond and World Market in Turkey Creek. Ashley heads up security there.

She’s working on 1,000 tags filled with what would make a senior happy.

It’s the simple things:  a nightlight, non-skid socks, crossword puzzle books, and, as Ashley says with a smile, “sugar-free candy is a big hit. Surprisingly, they love Werther’s. They do love some Werther’s!”

Ashley is hoping for piles of donations that turn into brightly wrapped presents lining the hallways at her office, just like in Christmases past for the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program.

Last year, they collected 700 gifts.

They’ll be loaded into a Sprinter van thanks to Mercedes Benz of Knoxville, and delivered to area nursing homes.

Ashley and the company she works for, Bayer Properties, is once again partnering with Home Instead Senior Care to make sure seniors have a merry Christmas. Sadly, Santa and Mrs. Claus can’t go along this year due to COVID-19, but their Christmas spirit is strong; almost as strong as Ashley’s.

“We have to do our part,” she says, “and deliver some gifts. A lot of them don’t even have family, so it’s a big thing.”

How can you help? It’s easy. You don’t even have to leave your home.

There’s a wish list on Pinnacle at Turkey Creek’s Facebook page, with a link to Amazon. Or, go by Bed Bath and Beyond in Turkey Creek, look for a tree filled with wish lists for seniors.  

Purchase the items, and drop them off, unwrapped, at the Guest Services Office next door to Bed Bath and Beyond starting Monday, November 23. The deadline is December 18th.

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