In honor and in memory of her own grandparents, Doyle and Irene Arwood, Ashley Lynch of Farragut has made it her mission to make sure senior citizens feel loved all year long.
The Christmas-focused event, Send Seniors Christmas Love, is in full swing again this year, and has a need for 2,000 sets of gifts, which will be distributed in nursing homes throughout East Tennessee in the weeks leading up to the holiday.
The SSCL project, inspired by Lynch’s charity Send Senior Citizens Love, officially kicked off with the Pinnacle at Turkey Creek’s All is Bright holiday celebration Friday, Nov. 18, and will run through Tuesday, Dec. 20.
Tiny trees, adorned with gift tag “ornaments,” are located near the 60-foot lighted Christmas tree in the Pinnacle at Turkey Creek shopping center and also are scattered throughout the development, which is a long-time partner for the event.
Each tag is simply listed as “male” or “female,” and has suggested gifts for nursing home residents, including such practical items as warm slipper socks, blankets, stationary, hats and gloves.
Those wishing to participate can visit the shopping center, pick out a tag, purchase the items listed, then return them unwrapped to the Pinnacle at Turkey Creek management office, 11251 Parkside Drive, where volunteer “elves” will wrap and distribute the gifts.
Last year, 1,300 seniors were gifted with Christmas presents thanks to Lynch and several core volunteers, including Pinnacle at Turkey Creek manager Darryl Whitehead and Knox County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brad Hall and his wife, Pam Hall, who deliver gifts dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus.
“Last year, a resident was so excited she got a visit from Santa,” Lynch said. “It just brought me to tears to see how happy she was.”
Lynch said she personally calls nursing homes in Knox, Blount and Sevier counties — along with locations in Greeneville, Rogersville, Johnson City and Lenoir City — to get an accurate headcount for the needs.
On Dec. 20, Lynch said the charity again will partner with Mercedes Benz of Knoxville to load up sprinter vans for deliveries.
For more information, visit www.sscl.com.