Burton senior center collecting for care packages

BURTON — The Burton Senior Center, 3410 S. Grand Traverse St., is collecting donations for care packages to deliver to local seniors in need this Christmas.

Jean Johnson, director of the Burton Senior Center, said there is a need for about 30 seniors in Burton who have no one this Christmas and could use some help.

“What we’re doing is calling to talk to them and find out their needs,” said Johnson. “Then we put a basket together for them. The community has been wonderful, people are calling getting items off the list.”

She said when they have collected everything the items will be placed in a holiday basket that is “pretty and festive” and will be delivered to the porch of the recipients Dec. 21-22.

What’s popular this year among the seniors in need? Things to keep them warm like blankets, sweaters, robes, slippers and socks. They are also collecting some food items for a food basket and each senior will receive a fruit basket. Other popular items include books, jigsaw puzzles, puzzle books and personal care items.

“We are all feeling the stress of isolation this year, imagine how this feels year after year,” said Johnson. “We are reaching out to these folks with Holiday gifts and food.”

Anyone who would like to help, Johnson said she has a list of needed items. Donors are asked to call the Burton Senior Center at 810-744-0960 Monday – Friday (7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) to pick an item or two and for more information.

Johnson said this sort of collection is something the center has done at various levels in the past, but usually the senior who frequent the center are the ones who collect the items and distribute them. With COVID- 19 restrictions in place, she said seniors are spending less time at the center this year.

Because of the restriction, Johnson said they decided to ask for help from the public this year.

She asks if anybody comes by to drop off items to call first and someone from the senior center will meet them in the parking lot or will let them know what precautions to take to enter the building, due to social distancing requirements.

During the pandemic, Johnson said the senior center has continued to provide area seniors with pantry food items, has served lunch curbside daily and has continued offering services assistance with Medicare and Medicaid, veterans support and other social services.

“We’re still working here,” said Johnson. “We’re just working a little different these days.”