(MURFREESBORO) The Rutherford County Sheriffs Office's SCAN (Senior Citizens Awareness Network) is spreading Christmas cheer throughout the community.
Hazel Bowers giggled like a little girl when she received a Christmas stocking and presents delivered by Coordinator E.T. Guice of the Senior Citizens Awareness Network sponsored by the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office.
"What's that?" she asked as she gazed into the bags of gifts.
Guice described Bowers as being overjoyed at her Christmas surprise.
"She just laughed and laughed," Guice said.
SCAN is a free program for senior citizens age 55 and older. SCAN volunteers check on the welfare of seniors to ensure they live in safe conditions and have enough food to eat. The program is funded by donations and grants.
Sheriff's Detention deputies asked for community residents to donate blankets, toiletries and gripper socks to the SCAN residents, many of whom would not receive any Christmas presents at all.
The community responded with the requested items, plus homemade quilts, puzzles, teddy bears and candy. Contributors included corporate donations, bags of gifts from two sisters in memory of the parents, young students who wanted to help the seniors from their Christmas money, state workers, Girl Scouts, families and Sheriff's Office employees.
SCAN volunteers and Sheriff's Office employees were overwhelmed at the response.
Detention deputies and SCAN volunteers packaged the presents and individual stockings stuffed with toiletries Saturday before delivering the gifts this week.
SCAN member Grace Jordan carefully removed each item from her stocking, smelling the body wash and showing her warm socks to her friend, Gwen Young. She smoothed out the handmade quilt, saying she would use it during naps.
Co-coordinator Clarence Guice said the seniors were so thankful to receive the presents. They appreciate anything they are given.
"Some of them may not have had a Christmas if we hadn't brought them gifts," Guice said.
"I thank Detention for asking for donations and putting everything together and delivering the presents."
E.T. Guice said the gifts meant the world to the seniors.
"It just made them know somebody cared, that they were not forgotten," Guice said.
People interested in spreading the joy to senior citizens all year long may serve as a SCAN volunteer. People are asked to call the SCAN number at 615-904-3139 and leave a message.