She doesn’t have reindeer or travel in a sleigh, but Santa for Seniors founder, Amanda Keller, and her “Angels of Good Cheer” helpers have been delivering gifts and joy to the residents at Murphey School since 2008.

As a former Medications Manager for Resources for Seniors, Amanda saw firsthand the needs of the seniors she served and witnessed residents making tough choices between paying for medication, food, or personal hygiene items.  “The thought of anyone, particularly seniors, having to choose between eating and paying for their medication was completely unsettling to me, which is why I decided to do something to help,” said Amanda.

Amanda, now a massage therapist, along with her Santa for Seniors helpers, collects items throughout the year to fill 48 gift bags to give away to each Murphey School resident.   Amanda prepares a list of items that residents can use throughout the winter months such as canned goods, personal hygiene items, detergent, winter hat, scarf, gloves, blanket, paper products, and so much more.  Each bag contains as many as 60 items, and Amanda takes special care to make sure all bags have exactly the same items.

Amanda and her team of volunteers assemble bags and deliver door-to-door to residents just before the holiday.  “We deliver the bags, sing Christmas carols, and make it a truly special event for each and every resident,” said Amanda.

“The residents have come to expect and depend on these items, and we greatly appreciate the generosity of Amanda and the host of volunteers,” said LaTonya Mckoy, DHIC Community Services Coordinator.

Last year, the Raleigh Civitan Club was so impressed with Amanda’s volunteer efforts that they named her “Citizen of the Year,” and also joined her in collecting items and volunteering for this year’s giveaway.

To learn more about the Santa for Seniors project, please email LaTonya Mckoy at  latonya@dhic.org.