Mizell Senior Center of Palm Springs has announced that the Center’s Holiday Gift Bag Program for hundreds of homebound seniors faces major challenges this year and needs the help of a generous community.  “With the Mizell Senior Center Meals On Wheels program serving seniors Valley-wide, there are even more who are in desperate need of just the basic necessities, especially in the East Valley” stated Ginny Foat, Executive Director.  Over 90% of Valley-wide Meals on Wheels recipients live at or below the federal poverty level, are frail, and homebound . . . many living alone and without any social support.  Gift baskets with household items, personal care items, and other gifts may not be delivered this year to all of those in need.  “The seniors we are serving are the poorest of the poor, forgotten in dilapidated trailers or living alone and isolated throughout the Valley” continued Foat.  As the holiday season begins earlier each year with ads for the latest phone, electronic gadget, holiday fashion or jewelry, Mizell Senior Center is serving the daily needs of seniors whose only want for Christmas is soap, shampoo, slippers, basic household needs, or a blanket to stay warm.  “Mizell Senior Center is committed to making sure that seniors are not forgotten this Holiday Season.  We will do all we can to brighten their holidays while meeting their basic needs” said Foat.
With the Meals On Wheels program now serving over 350 seniors per day, the need continues to grow.  Mizell is receiving requests for basic household necessities such as soap, shampoo, lotion and basic home products as much needed and wanted Holiday Gifts. 
These gift bags are personally delivered to each Meals on Wheels recipient during the three days before Christmas.  For many homebound seniors, these gift bags bring holiday cheer and a sense of family.  Last year, Evelyn wrote “. . . Thank you so much.  The bag of gifts and personal items had everything we needed.  You keep us going and enjoying life.” 
For Evelyn and hundreds more like her, the holiday gift bag provides a caring hand to a lonely senior during the holiday season. 
Mizell Senior Center is expected to provide over 120,000 meals this year through its Meals On Wheels Program to over 350 seniors every day from Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs to the Salton Sea.  During the Holidays, Mizell Senior Center puts forth extra effort to provide Holiday Meals, gift bags, personal necessities and visits to seniors who will be alone.  “We have come to depend on a caring community to make sure that these vulnerable and lonely seniors will not be forgotten and without gifts during the holidays” said Foat.   “This year, we are faced with a real challenge” stated Kelly Wells, Mizell Senior Center’s Executive Chef and Director of Nutrition.  “As we see others preparing for the holidays and excited about their purchase of the newest smart phone, we are reminded every day that there are frail and lonely seniors who are forgotten during the holiday season and need only the basic necessities” continued Wells.
Once again this year, Mizell Senior Center is asking our community for help.  Generous contributions of basic toiletries to those who have nothing as well as gifts to seniors who would otherwise be forgotten are desperately needed.  Individuals can come to Mizell Senior Center Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM to make donations of personal necessities for the holiday gift bags.  Items should be returned by December 18 to the Mizell front desk.
Mizell Senior Center has been serving Palm Springs and surrounding communities for over 42 years, and is the community focal point on healthy and active aging.  This is a place where Active Adults of all ages come together for service and activity which enhances dignity, supports independence and encourages involvement in and with the community.  Mizell Senior Center also operates the largest Meals On Wheels Program in the Coachella Valley serving our most frail and at risk seniors.  For additional information, call Mizell at 760-323-5689, visit our website at www.mizell.org,  or drop by the center located at 480 S Sunrise Way.