Ms. Baker Spends Saturday Setting up “Be a Santa to a Senior”

Decorations on the Christmas tree set up in the main foyer of Kempsville High School. The paper ornament to the left is a bulb - on it is a senior's gender, age, size, and gift suggestions.

Christmas music quietly echoes, and the twinkle of a spinning Christmas tree just barely shines past the lobby into the dark 100 hallway. It’s barely afternoon on Saturday, November 23, – although you wouldn’t be able to tell, as most of the lights in the building are off – and Ms. Beverly Baker, security assistant, is decorating the foyer for the holidays and setting up for “Be a Santa to a Senior.” Green bins of lights and ornaments are scattered across the floor, and she speaks to Haley Walters, senior, about needing another extension cord to plug in the lights over the library. Baker had planned to set all the decorations up by herself, but spare volunteers were still mingling during the progress of the Bathroom Beautification project, and Walters and a few other students had come over to help. 


“Be a Santa to a Senior,” the community organization that the security team is sponsoring, strives to identify senior citizens who might not otherwise receive gifts and distribute presents to them. 

Sydney Haulenbeek
Haley Walters, senior, hangs “Be a Santa to a Senior” bulbs on the giving tree set up in the main foyer.


“We’re doing this in conjunction with Home Instead Senior Care,” Baker said. “We collect it and then they’re going to distribute them to people in more rural communities that don’t have much access to stores, and people who are more shut-in, or not able to get out as much.”


Anyone passing through the main entranceway is able to select a bulb off of the tree. Each one is labeled with a number, and the senior’s gender, age, and gift request. They then tell a security member which numbered bulb they chose and can go out and buy gifts for their senior. Once purchased, the unwrapped gifts and bulb go together in a collection box in the foyer. 


“We really wanted to give back,” Baker said. “Last year we did the lobby…But this year we just wanted to get a little deeper into actually giving back to the community. So that’s why [we have] the giving tree this year… we wanted to be more a part of the global community.” 


She decided to put up all the decorations over the weekend because she wanted people to have the chance to grab a bulb before they went out and did their Black Friday and Christmas shopping. 


“I just wanted everybody to have a chance to get one, so they could incorporate it into their Christmas shopping that they were already doing,” she said. “Actually, I didn’t even know that they were doing [the Bathroom Beautification] ‘till yesterday. I had no clue that this many people -”

Michelle Nguyen, left, and Jasmyne Scott, right, assist Ms. Baker with decorating after having helped with the Bathroom Beautification project.


“You were going to do this all by yourself?” Walters interrupted.


“I was going to do this all by myself. It just so happened that you guys were here and able to pitch in,” she said. “I just wanted everybody to have a chance to get one so they could incorporate it into their Christmas shopping that they were already doing.”


Collections for “Be a Santa for a Senior” run from November 25 to December 13.