Caring for others

Therese Kovatch, president of Chesterland-based Home Instead Senior
Care, made a commitment that her business would give back to the community by putting it in her company’s mission

The company, which provides nonmedical
home care for seniors, created the “Be a
Santa to a Senior” program in 2004 to provide
holiday gifts and companionship to lonely
and indigent seniors in Lake and Geauga
counties. This year, the volunteer program is
expanding to Portage County.

“The program, because of its magnitude,
requires yearlong planning and has become an ongoing community service program, with detail organization and support
culminating in the final project phase,”
Kovatch says.

Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, KeyBank and other
local merchants serve as partners with Home
Instead Senior Care by placing holiday trees
in their stores with a request for donations.
Then the company works with community nonprofits — the Lake County Office on
Aging, the Geauga Department of Aging, Hospice of the Western Reserve, Schraff and
King Co. LPA and Lake Hospital Systems —
to identify needy seniors who could benefit
from this program.

Paper ornaments are hung on the trees,
indicating the first name of a senior and his
or her needs, such as clothes, laundry soap,
personal hygiene items, blankets and food
gift certificates. Home Instead Senior Care
volunteers collect, wrap and deliver the

“The success of the program has been due
to the overwhelming community support,
purchasing the needed items and placing
them under the tree,” Kovatch says. “This is a
very important part of the program, as it presents the opportunity to increase community
awareness of a much-overlooked group of
our society during the holiday season.”

The “Be a Santa to a Senior” program collected 432 gifts for 186 seniors in 2004. Last
year, the company delivered more than 1,300 presents to 498 seniors. The company also doubled its financial commitment
to the program, from $10,000 in 2004 to
$20,000 last year.

“We can only estimate the priceless time
and dollars that the local community dedicated to this project,” Kovatch says.

HOW TO REACH: Home Instead Senior Care, (440) 729-5888