In the hallway of the new, spacious Dorothy Visser Senior Center in San Clemente stands a Christmas tree adorned not only with ornaments, but also with the Christmas wishes of local seniors. Little cards hung all over the tree read "Trader Joe's Gift Card," or "Albertson's Gift Card."
Agewell Senior Services, which operates the center, said local seniors need gift cards to grocery stores and big box stores because so many are struggling to afford the goods necessary for survival.
"As much fun as it would be to buy them something frivolous, they really need to get the basics," said site manager Beth Apodaca as Harold's Southeast Dixie Jazz Band prepared to entertain diners during the center's festive Friday luncheon.
"People can drop [gift cards] off here," Apodaca said. "Even cash donations -- for our Meals on Wheels program, $25 will pay for meals for a senior for the next couple months."
The senior center is on Avenida Victoria, down from the Bank of America/Starbucks building.