With so many worthwhile causes trying to make the holiday season happy for people from all walks of life, Adult Protective Services is hoping area gift-givers will look to a slightly different demographic at Christmas.
Part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Adult Protective Services began the "Be a Star" program this week, collecting Christmas gifts for the area's elderly and disabled.
"A lot of people don't realize it, but the elderly and disabled population is the fastest growing in the state," said Jodi Sobotka, a community initiatives specialist for APS. "According to the last census, people 65 and older make up 12.4 percent of the population. People between the ages of 21 and 64 with disabilities make up 15.1 percent of the population, and both of these demographics are the fastest growing in the nation.
"Those same numbers are always higher for West Texas. In Howard County, 14.1 percent of the population is 65 or older, and 23.6 percent are between 21 and 64 years old with disabilities. So Big Spring and the surrounding areas have a very real stake in a program like this."
The program, which is being sponsored by First Bank of West Texas, will run until Dec. 21 — the week before Christmas — according to Sobotka.
"All you have to do is go to any First Bank of West Texas location and pick out a star," said Sobotka. "The stars will have the client's first name and requested gift. Each gift that is purchased for the elderly or disabled clients need to be returned to the bank.
"The elderly and disabled people APS serves are our neighbors and part of our communities. Each are special and unique. This is everyone's chance to contribute to a project that makes everyone feel like a star."
Sobotka said among the items being requested are blankets for those who have little or no heat in their homes; portable electric heaters; small kitchen appliances and pots and pans; clothes, such as pajamas, robes and slippers, coats, shoes, gloves and scarves; hair dryers and electric razors; as well as lotions, perfumes and colognes.
First Bank of West Texas has locations at 607 S. Scurry, 1810 E. FM 700 and 500 W. Broadway in Coahoma. Lobby hours are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
For more information on the program, contact Sobotka at (325) 795-5623.