Barbara Fradkin – FLORIDA TODAY

Q: My grandchildren asked that we all give to others this year instead of exchanging gifts.  Where do I start?

A: That is such a good idea! I did that one year with my grandchildren and they were happy to be able to share in the joy of the season.  With many people out of work, rents going up, and families sometimes separated, we can try to take care of one another.

One Senior Place has two “giving trees” this year: one for seniors and one for children.  Our annual Senior Santa tree is sponsored by Brevard County TRIAD, a network of community organizations that work together to assist our senior population. They collect holiday gifts and goodies for seniors in local nursing homes who do not have family and will be alone for the holidays. You and your grandkids can peruse the tree and choose a person’s name and their short list of needs/wants. TRIAD suggests adding a few hygiene products, too- like body lotion, shower soap/gel, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.

Our other tree is new this year, in support of The Haven for Children in Melbourne.  The Haven is a non-profit organization licensed by the Department of Children and Families of the State of Florida to provide therapeutic shelter care in a homelike environment for children 0-18 who have been removed from their homes because of neglect, abuse or abandonment.  Since they first opened their doors, nearly 4000 children have benefited from their care. The tree has tags with the children’s names and what they would like for Christmas.

There are SO many other ways to give.  Here are a few more:

  • Donate food to local food banks. The surge of hungry families has stretched food banks to the breaking point. The United Way of Brevard lists locations on their COVID-19 Community Resources page.
  • Help support Daily Bread in Melbourne. needs men and women’s clothing, socks, shoes, personal hygiene items, bug spray, sleeping bags, towels and washcloths. They not only serve hot meals for hungry or homeless people, they provide multiple services to help people back to self reliance.
  • Donate time or money to Aging Matters. is a not-for-profit that helps local seniors. They deliver nutritious meals, provide transportation, in home care and housing improvements.  They need drivers –for Meals on Wheels and to drive seniors to appointments.

Don’t forget the good done by so many faith-based organizations. Do what is in your heart for the holidays and remember those less fortunate. The holidays are a time for giving.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. To submit a question, send an email to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director for One Senior Place, Viera.