Surprises for Shut-ins celebrates 30th anniversary

Are you or your organization looking for something special to do to brighten the holiday of the isolated elderly? It is easy to do by donating gifts for the Beaver County Office on Aging’s 31st annual Surprises for Shut-ins program. It provides gifts and a friendly visit during the Christmas holiday season to older adults ages 60 and older who are experiencing illness and loneliness. The BCOA casework staff identifies shut-ins who need some special attention during the holiday season. In 2016, 470 people received gifts. Since the program’s inception, 10,227 deliveries have been made to older adults.

Now through December 4, the Office on Aging will accept donations of new, practical gifts. It is not necessary to wrap them. If providing a wrapped gift, put a sticky note or gift tag on it stating the contents. Also, cash donations are accepted to cover the cost of giftwrap. If writing a check, make it payable to Angela Gentile; a receipt will be issued.

Items can be brought to the Office on Aging, located in the Beaver County Human Services Building, 1020 Eighth Ave., Beaver Falls, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, or to Center at the Mall, located in the Beaver Valley Mall next to Hallmark, Monday, 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Office on Aging relies on the generosity of Beaver County residents to make the program work. Many groups use this project as one of their community service projects. The Office on Aging has a dedicated core of volunteers who wrap and deliver gifts. The older adults really value the visit during the holiday as some of them just have contact with their caseworker and direct care workers. Each shut-in receives a gift bag with an average of eight gifts inside.

Here are a few gift ideas: magnets, soaps, tissues, socks, lotion, puzzle books, shampoo, razors, slippers, calendars, powder, perfume, knick knacks, aftershave, shaving cream, body wash, picture frames, lap robes, tea towels, note pads, pens, greeting cards, stamps, playing cards, toiletry items, new gift wrap, new large gift bags and rolls of tape. Any questions regarding the program can be directed to Angela Gentile at the Office on Aging by calling (724) 847-2262 or (888) 548-2262, or email