Silver Key’s Giving Tree effort reaps presents for more than 2,000 seniors

       Silver Key Senior Services is once again serving as a willing go-between for the Christmas spirit.
       Through its annual Giving Tree effort, the Westside-based non-profit agency has received some 2,200 presents from the community that it will distribute to needy senior citizens in the region.
       Several weeks ago, individual gift requests from needy seniors went out to area businesses and churches, with help from the Girl Scouts. The requests tend to be modest, such as bath towels, sweaters or gloves.
       The gifts will mostly go to people who are at or below the poverty line of $798 a month, according to Diane Stevens, chief operating officer for Silver Key. Other recipients will be those with “poverty of spirit” because of a loss of a loved one or other personal hardships, she explained.
       Typically, an employee at businesses bought a gift matching each request, although in some cases employees combined to meet larger requests (such as a vacuum cleaner), Stevens said.
       All the gifts wound up at Silver Key, where they are to be delivered by agency drivers in the days before Christmas. This week, the presents were stacked - basketball-player high, in some cases - on tables spread across the agency's large top floor, and overflowing onto the stairway.
       Stevens pointed out how nicely most of the presents are wrapped. “A lot of love went into this,” she said.
       The Giving Tree program was started in 1979 by Silver Key founder Mikki Kraushaar, who stepped down last summer.

Westside Pioneer article