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Elves for the Elderly Donations Bring Joy to Highland Lakes Seniors

Bessie Jackson, local senior adviser for the AARP program, is collecting items for Elves for the Elderly, which hands out Christmas gift bags to more than 700 seniors across the Highland Lakes. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

MARBLE FALLS — Older Adult Rural Services needs some merry elves to bring a Merry Christmas to Highland Lakes seniors.

The local organization is asking for donations of items to create holiday goody bags for its Elves for the Elderly program.

Needed items include slippers, mittens, gloves, blankets, socks, lap quilts, night lights, and large-print books. Drop off donations at the T.Q. Brown Building, 1016 Broadway, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Dec. 3.

Bessie Jackson, a local senior adviser for the AARP program, said they’ll also accept personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, soap, and lotion.

“We take everything,” she said. “The list was the basics. We need what you would give to your parents. That would be nice to have.”

The program serves individuals in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities as well as shut-ins in Burnet, Llano, and parts of Williamson counties. It’s not uncommon for Jackson and volunteers to assemble 700 bags and give them all away.

“It’s overwhelming because it’s so much more than before,” Jackson said. “It seems everybody has come to some sort of need or lack of stuff. All of the sudden, you have people who need stuff. They go to people who don’t have anybody to do anything for them during the holidays.”

One volunteer noticed a man who sat on his front porch every day who didn’t receive a lot of visitors.

“He’d sit on his front porch smoking his cigarettes,” Jackson said. “He’d wave to us and say, ‘How you doing?’”

That volunteer gave the man a goody bag. The group found out it was the only Christmas present he received that year.

“Two months later, he died,” Jackson said, “but he knew that somebody cared about him.”

The program could use more volunteers. Email Jackson at for more information. Go to for more volunteer opportunities in the Highland Lakes.

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