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‘Elves’ making sure elderly residents are remembered at Christmas time

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

MARBLE FALLS — Bessie Jackson smiled as she handed out socks, blankets and a hat or two.

“All right, there you go,” she said.

A group of girls then took the items and stuffed them into colorful, festive bags. The girls, members of Girl Scout Troop 851 of Burnet, might never see the faces of the men and women who get the bags, but Jackson lets them know how much it will mean to the elderly recipients.

“For some, this may be the only gift they get this year. Y’all are truly angels.”

Or elves.

Jackson heads up the Elves for the Elderly program started almost a decade ago by Jeanine Olson not long after she created Older Adult Rural Services, or OARS. A few years ago, the Texas Housing Foundation took the program under its umbrella, and with Olson stepping aside because of health issues, Jackson picked it up.

“It’s just too important to let go,” Jackson said.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 851 from Burnet helped pack gifts for the Elves for the Elderly program Nov. 8 at the Marble Falls Community Resource Center. The program collects gifts for elderly residents who might not get any on Christmas Day. Helping out were Savannah Musgrove (front, left), Addy Lambert, Holly Holderfield, Riley Tippit, Maddison Stires, troop leader Crystal Tippitt (second row, left), Emily Haggerton, Katie Barnett, Barbara Johns (back, left) and Bessie Jackson of Elves for the Elderly.
Members of Girl Scout Troop 851 from Burnet helped pack gifts for the Elves for the Elderly program Nov. 8 at the Marble Falls Community Resource Center. The program collects gifts for elderly residents who might not get any on Christmas Day. Helping out were Savannah Musgrove (front, left), Addy Lambert, Holly Holderfield, Riley Tippit, Maddison Stires, troop leader Crystal Tippitt (second row, left), Emily Haggerton, Katie Barnett, Barbara Johns (back, left) and Bessie Jackson of Elves for the Elderly.

Elves for the Elderly collects gifts for elderly residents who live in area retirement/nursing homes or are homebound. Jackson collects items — particularly slip-proof socks, mittens and gloves, blankets, pill boxes, hats and even puzzle books and games — through Dec. 12. Then, she and her volunteers deliver the gifts to retirement/nursing homes in Liberty Hill, Kingsland and Marble Falls.

Meals on Wheels drivers drop off more gifts to clients on their routes.

Volunteers such as the Girl Scout troop help ensure many elderly residents aren’t overlooked on Christmas.

“I hope the girls learn the importance of giving back to people and realize that there are some people out there who aren’t as fortunate,” troop leader Crystal Tippitt said. “It’s a good chance for them to help others.”

The girls gave up a little more than an hour of their time Nov. 8 to sort, wrap and bag gifts. Jackson pointed out those 60 minutes will mean the world to the person who gets the gift.

“Oh, it might not seem like much, but for person who gets it, you won’t believe what it means,” she said.

Volunteers and gifts are still needed. People can drop off gifts through Dec. 12 at the Community Resource Center, 1016 Broadway in Marble Falls. Call (830) 693-0700 for more information or to find out how to help.

daniel@thepicayune.com