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Special tree to help local senior citizens

Felicia Fields, of Coal Grove, takes a moment to look over the Senior Tree at Staley’s Pharmacy in downtown Ironton.

There is no shortage of toy drives and Angel Trees for children during the holidays, so one local business wants to make sure a different group of people are not forgotten on Christmas.

Staley’s Pharmacy, in partnership with Covenant Home Health Services in Burlington, is helping local senior citizens with a gift tree.

The tree is set up in the pharmacy’s downtown Ironton location on South Third Street and includes the names of seniors in Lawrence County who are in nursing centers and are alone for the holidays.

Dee Staley, co-owner of the business,  said this is the pharmacy’s second year partnering with Covenant for the gift tree.

“These people have no family,” Staley said. “No one to buy them anything. We are their Santa Claus.”

The gift tree is filled with paper ornaments representing a local senior. The ornaments specify the age, sex, size and needs of the senior. Staley said some of the needs include slippers and clothing, lotions and powder, as well as stationery and stamps.

Covenant provided 33 names to the pharmacy, but only about 10 names have been taken, Staley said.

“It’s starting to worry me,” she said. “Last year we refilled the tree four times. … I realize the economy is bad. But this is our heritage. They are the people who need us.”

People who chose a name from the tree are asked to wrap their gift and tape the paper ornament to the package so Covenant can distribute the gifts to the appropriate senior.

“We would ask them to wrap the gift, but if they can’t, we would be glad to,” Staley said.

Staley also recommended not buying gift cards for the seniors, as they may not be able to go out and shop for themselves.

Gifts are asked to be turned in to the pharmacy by Dec. 19.

“Christmas is important not just for the children, but for the elderly as well,” Staley said.