Thousands of pounds of gifts are going out from KLPZ’s studios in Parker, AZ this morning to around 110 elderly citizens around La Paz County for Christmas.
The annual ‘Elder Tree’ program, started by KLPZ’s Juanita Learn, brings Christmas to seniors in need, many of whom are housebound. Every year, staff with the Meals on Wheels program ask the seniors in the program what they would like for Christmas. Their names are then hung on the Christmas tree at the radio station (first names only), and listeners, advertisers and members of the community come by and take a name to buy for. They then purchase those items using their own money and bring them back to KLPZ where they get sorted for delivery.
What immediately strikes people who look at the requested items is how basic many of them are. Slippers are a top request. Blankets, clothes, pet food, shampoo and other household supplies are often on the lists. Sometimes chocolates or candy are asked for, and occasionally something more substantial like a room heater or refrigerator.
The seniors live all around La Paz County, including Salome, Bouse, Ehrenberg, Quartzsite and Parker, many of them relatively isolated because of the driving distances involved. A team of volunteers arrived at KLPZ this morning, ready to load the many hundreds of gifts onto trucks for delivery, which will be a two-day process.
Volunteers in previous years have talked about how touched the elders are to receive gifts delivered in person, and how grateful they are to have the items they asked for.