CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina finished its 13th Annual Golden Angel Tree Program with the distribution of holiday gift bags to 1,200 disadvantaged seniors across the Lowcountry.
Organizers said Goodwill was able to significantly increase the number of seniors that benefited from its Golden Angel program this holiday season and distribute gift bags to 396 seniors in the Lowcountry.
"With so many wonderful programs dedicated to the children in our community, we made the decision several years ago to shift our focus to another group in need that is often overlooked, our disadvantaged seniors," said Goodwill Vice President of Corporate Relations Tina Marshall. "Seniors face many challenges on a fixed income with the rising cost of prescriptions and health care, finding affordable housing and overall inflation. We wanted to make sure the seniors of our community are also cared for during the holidays."
For several weeks, Goodwill and local volunteers shopped for items and created 1,200 holiday gift bags full of items to meet the wishes and needs of seniors. The holiday gift bags included items such as blankets, socks, towels, wash clothes, winter clothing, toiletries, food items and other gifts to provide holiday cheer to the recipients.
Gift bags were distributed to disadvantaged seniors in the Tri-County, Beaufort, Bluffton, Walterboro, Sumter, Florence, Orangeburg and Grand Strand communities where Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina operates retail stores and Job Link Centers.
"This is a wonderful tradition that our seniors look forward to every year," said Yvonne Cooper, Case Manager for the Charleston Area Seniors Citizens Services, Inc., where Goodwill puts on an annual Christmas party to distribute gift bags and other gifts to seniors in the Charleston area. "Senior citizens have spent so much of their life giving to the community; it is nice for them to know that the community remembers, cares and wants to give back to them."
The Golden Angel Tree Program is funded through community donations and the sale of "Golden Angels" at each of the Goodwill stores. Customers can purchase the angels during the holidays for a $1 donation. All sales go directly to the program.
Recipients of the bags are determined by Goodwill's area partners. In the Tri-County area, gift bags were distributed to seniors associated with the Charleston Area Senior Citizens Services, Inc., Roper Hospice, Rural Mission and the Trident Area on Aging.