Goodwill hands out gift bags to 1,200 disadvantaged seniors

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina finished its 13th{}Annual Golden Angel Tree Program with the distribution ofholiday gift bags to 1,200 disadvantaged seniors across the Lowcountry.

Organizers said Goodwill was able to significantlyincrease the number of seniors that benefited from its Golden Angel program thisholiday season and distribute gift bags to 396 seniors in the Lowcountry.

"With so manywonderful programs dedicated to the children in our community, we made thedecision several years ago to shift our focus to another group in need that isoften overlooked, our disadvantaged seniors," said Goodwill Vice President ofCorporate Relations Tina Marshall. "Seniors face many challenges on a fixed incomewith the rising cost of prescriptions and health care, finding affordablehousing and overall inflation. We wanted to make sure the seniors of ourcommunity are also cared for during the holidays."

For several weeks,Goodwill and local volunteers shopped for items and created 1,200 holiday giftbags full of items to meet the wishes and needs of seniors. The holiday giftbags included items such as blankets, socks, towels, wash clothes, winterclothing, toiletries, food items and other gifts to provide holiday cheer tothe recipients.

Gift bags weredistributed to disadvantaged seniors in the Tri-County, Beaufort, Bluffton,Walterboro, Sumter, Florence, Orangeburg and Grand Strand communities whereGoodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina operates retail stores and Job LinkCenters.

"This is a wonderfultradition that our seniors look forward to every year," said Yvonne Cooper,Case Manager for the Charleston Area Seniors Citizens Services, Inc., whereGoodwill puts on an annual Christmas party to distribute gift bags and othergifts 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 togive back to them."

The Golden AngelTree Program is funded through community donations and the sale of "GoldenAngels" at each of the Goodwill stores. Customers can purchase the angelsduring the holidays for a $1 donation. All sales go directly to the program.

Recipients of thebags are determined by Goodwill's area partners. In the Tri-County area, giftbags were distributed to seniors associated with the Charleston Area SeniorCitizens Services, Inc., Roper Hospice, Rural Mission and the Trident Area onAging.