Debbie Allen has been involved with the Silver Tree project almost since its inception five years ago. But now, as marketing and community liaison at SunPorch of Dodge City, she is taking it up a notch.

SunPorch will collect Silver Tree donations from Dec. 9-15 at the short- and long-term-care residence, 501 W. Beeson Road.

"Our mission is serving the needs of elders," Allen said. "They deserve to feel loved and valued every day. But we also want to ensure they are not forgotten during the Christmas season.

"Caring for elders does your soul good.

"We want to be there, especially for those who don’t have family nearby. It can be a very lonely time and we want elders to know we care."

Silver Tree was created by Cathy Cox, registered nurse at Western Plains Medical Center, and Andrea Hogue, Dodge City Public Schools teacher. "They saw a need and wanted to do something about it," Allen said. "The community should commend them for their kind hearts."

Any business, agency or individual that knows of an elder who would appreciate a Silver Tree gift is encouraged to get involved.

"Anyone is welcome to donate a gift, which can be inexpensive," Allen said. "We also will need help delivering the presents, which is the best part. Many elders are thrilled when they realize the community is thinking about them."

Dillons has been a sponsor each year by putting up a Christmas tree for the project. Each ornament indicates an item that an elder has requested. No names are used.

Suggestions for new-and-unwrapped gifts include: hats, scarves or gloves; puzzles or large-print books; personal-hygiene items; slippers or pajamas; blankets; flashlights; non-perishable foods; popcorn or nuts; and retail or restaurant gift cards.

Donors may arrange for the gifts to be picked up.

In addition to the special week at SunPorch, other gift-collection sites are the WPMC admissions office and The Alley, 2200 1st Avenue in Dodge City.

The deadline is Dec. 20.

For more information, contact Allen by calling, 620-255-1158; Hogue, 620-253-2806; or Cox, 316-250-0035.