Throughout the year, the Osceola Council on Aging hosts events for most holidays, whether it’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Veterans Day, Easter, the 4th of July, and in November, our annual Thanksgiving Turkey Takeout fundraiser, just to name a few.

Of all events, my absolute favorite is always the holiday celebrations and festivities surrounding Christmas, especially our Senior Santa Adoption program.

Why is it my favorite? For one, who doesn’t love Christmas? Secondly, my Mom and Dad dressed up annually as Mr. and Mrs. Claus to support the OCOA; they participated in local Christmas parades, church functions, and our Senior Santa Holiday party; these are memories forever embedded in my mind. Though with my father’s passing, the holiday seasons have become somewhat bittersweet, as it is for most families who have lost loved ones. With that said, it’s important to cherish what we still have, to move forward, and remember the good times.

In the meantime, it always helps to thumb through photos of years past, and why I included the Christmas image above. I have to say, my Mom and Dad were two of the most handsome Mr. and Mrs. Claus I’ve ever seen. Would you agree?

In all seriousness, as we rapidly move into the holiday season, and into the 36th year in a row of hosting our Senior Santa Adoption program, we look forward to our annual holiday events and fundraisers for the many disadvantaged seniors in our community. Members of the Osceola community support this program in multiple ways. The first, by donating, you have the chance to “adopt” ‘seniors in need.’

Each adopted senior receives:

An invitation and transportation to our Senior Santa Holiday Party complete with dinner, decorations, party favors, and of course, Santa Claus.

A special gift bag delivered Christmas week by OCOA volunteers and staff.

A specially prepared festive holiday dinner delivered to their doorstep on Christmas Day.

In our 35 years of hosting the Senior Santa program, we have adopted thousands of seniors. There have been years in which as many as 2,000 seniors were adopted. Community support has always been consistent, raising as much as $35,000 one year.

Please show your support by adopting at least one of our seniors to give them the joy of attending the Senior Santa Holiday event, Christmas gifts, as well as Christmas dinner this holiday season!

Further, if you are interested in helping more than one, you may want to become a HOPE sponsor. This will give you the opportunity to “adopt” four seniors. With our JOY sponsorship, you could support eight seniors, along with participation in OCOA publicity events and our Senior Santa gift bags. Finally, with our GIFT sponsorship program, you will help 15 seniors and have opportunities to promote your business through our community partnership program.

The holiday season is always a wonderfully reflective, beautifully decorated, and festive time of the year. Let us not forget those seniors who may be lonely or simply less fortunate so, if possible, please support the OCOA’s Senior Santa Adoption Program.

For information on our HOPE, JOY, and GIFT sponsorship programs, call Belinda Olivera, at 407-933-9534, or e-mail For general information on our Senior Santa Adoption Program, go to https:// senior-santa/.

Finally, I wish you all a happy, safe, and joyous holiday season!

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Published Wednesday, December 14th, 2022