Local group helps senior citizens and adults with disabilities get the gifts on their Christmas wish lists

OREM, Utah -- The holiday season is known for spending time with family and friends and giving to those you love, but the United Way of Utah County says not everyone has those luxuries.

"So many people at Christmastime want to help," Bill Hulterstrom, president and CEO of United Way of Utah County said. "And what a great way to help in a way that those would otherwise have been neglected."

This is why they've hosted the Giving Tree program for over 25 years, where you can not only be an angel for young children but a golden angel for a senior citizen or adult with disabilities.

"The adults on this tree may be living in a retirement community, a special facility for special needs adults," Hulterstrom said. "And in some cases, even in one of the juvenile detention centers here in our community."

To participate in the program, choose a card from one of the trees, then purchase three to five gifts on that person's wish list.

"Many times the requests are as simple as a pair of socks, a new razor," Hulterstrom said. "Something very simple is often requested just to brighten a senior's day."

You can find Giving Trees at local businesses throughout the county and at University Place in Orem.

"I’m reminded of a thank you note that we received a year or two ago from a dear senior who wrote a long, long note saying, 'For so much of my life, I was caring for others, and to be in a place where I can’t help others is hard,'" Hulterstrom said. "But to be the recipient of such great help, just made Christmas for me."

Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off any Giving Tree location until Saturday night.

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