One woman would like a scarf and some art supplies. A man is asking for some sweet treats and a picture frame. Another would just like a gift card to buy gas.

The requests from Bozeman-area seniors are written on decorative paper that adorn a Christmas tree in Rosauers Supermarket. It’s part of the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program put on by Home Instead Senior Care, a nationwide home care company with Montana locations in Bozeman, Helena and Missoula.

Trees are up in Rosauers, Opportunity Bank on West Oak Street and Town and Country Foods in Belgrade. The idea is for people to take the requests, buy the gifts and return them to one of these locations.

Volunteers are needed to wrap the gifts on Dec. 9, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., at Dahl Funeral Home. Those interested can show up at the funeral home on Dec. 9.

The program is will end Dec. 4 so that gifts can be distributed by Christmas Day.

Jon Marchi, general manager for Home Instead Senior Care in Bozeman, said that this time of year is particularly difficult for older adults living in isolation.

“Unfortunately, we have a lot of seniors out there who don’t have any family or friends or financial resources, and absent of this program, they wouldn’t get a gift,” Marchi said.

Last year, the program distributed 400 gifts to seniors in Bozeman and Helena.

Home Instead Senior Care partners with local organizations like the senior center and local rest homes to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive gifts for Christmas and signs them up for the program.

According to the Administration on Aging, 28% of non-institutionalized seniors lived alone in the United States in 2017. People living alone were more likely to be living in poverty than seniors living with family. According to the Journal of Aging Life Care, loneliness is associated with poor health and higher rates of mortality.

These are the people most in need of the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program, Marchi said. The program is taking place all over the country this time of year.

“Those are the folks that we want to lift up,” Marchi said.

Shaylee Ragar can be reached at or at 582-2607.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.