Reaching Out delivers holiday cheer to Florida seniors

Dottie Spearman pulled the ribbons off a neatly wrapped bag and dug into the contents, revealing candles and a gift card with which she can gas up her car.

Like other regulars who eat lunch weekdays at the Martin Andersen Senior Center, she was grateful for the Dec. 13 party at which she and her friends celebrated the upcoming holidays.

But when the Rockledge resident opened a box containing a nightgown, her face truly lit up.

"Oh, my goodness," Spearman said, clutching the gown against her chest.

Similar special moments are delivered, year after year, through FLORIDA TODAY's Reaching Out Holiday Fund campaign and its faithful donors.

This year, 3,000-plus children are receiving books and toys. Gifts are also being delivered to about 1,500 adults who either receive Meals on Wheels, eat at Seniors at Lunch sites or are clients of in-home services through Aging Matters in Brevard. The nonprofit has teamed with FLORIDA TODAY for four years on the senior arm of the gift program.



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