The Spirit of Giving Continues

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The passion for helping COAAA consumers extends beyond the walls of the agency and that devotion to serving others is always evident during COAAA’s annual Holiday Gift Drive.  Toward the end of each year, anonymous sponsors from several Central Ohio businesses and organizations purchase gifts for COAAA consumers who are in real need of presents during the holidays. 

Mary Donahue, who is a board member of COAAA’s non-profit foundation Aging Solutions, coordinates the gift drive.  COAAA case managers identify people they serve who need presents and Donahue then matches those individuals to anonymous gift sponsors.  Gifts that are provided by sponsors can range from cloths, dvds, books to everyday necessities such as microwaves, vacuum cleaners, towels, toiletries and cleaning supplies. Many times, the gifts given by the sponsor are the only presents the COAAA consumer gets during the holidays.  The goal of the program is to match a gift to the client’s wish list. 

The Holiday Gift Drive is a labor of love for Donahue, who does this in honor of her mother, Judy Camp, who started the program.  Camp was inspired to start the program because of a thank you note she received from a nursing home resident.  The thank you note was in response to Camp sending the resident a Christmas card.     

In the first year of the program, Donahue and Camp were able to sponsor 100 seniors identified by COAAA.  The gift drive has continued to grow each year, with the 2016 program providing gifts to more than 2,000 individuals served by COAAA, the Volunteer Guardian Program through COAAA and the Clintonville Beechwold Community Resource Center. Individuals from businesses such as AEP, Bella Care, Chase, and Honda sponsored about 1,000 people 

Besa, a Columbus organization that connects volunteers to local charities, also played a major role in the Holiday Gift Drive.   Staff and volunteers from Besa put in tremendous work by sponsoring more than 1,000 individuals as well as delivering and helping in organizing gifts at COAAA’s offices.  Besa's contribution to COAAA's Holiday Gift Prorgram is part of the organization's Adopt-a -Senior program.  Through the help of Besa and its supporters, the organization helped in doubling the amount of gifts given from the previous year.  Supporters of Besa’s Adopt- a- Senior program include the Columbus Foundation, Big Lots, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Kaufman Development, Express, GBQ, IGS Energy, Resource Ammirati, Gifts of Kindness, West Nina Fund, Manley, Deas and Kochlaski, Columbia Gas of Ohio and CD 102.5 fm.

The holiday gift program is part of COAAA’s non-profit foundation Aging Solutions.  Aging Solutions provides emergency funds to COAAA clients who need a little extra help to     maintain their quality of life.  Aging Solutions helps pay for expenses that Medicare and Medicaid may not cover.  Aging Solutions can offer funds to help with emergency prescriptions, replace a broken microwave which is essential for home delivered meals, provide home repairs, help with rent and provide funds for cleaning supplies and toiletries.

For more information on Aging Solutions and how to donate, visit COAAA's Aging Solutions page.


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