Columbus, Ohio—Once again, Columbus delivered—joyfully and quickly.

Within 24 hours of Adopt a Senior launching, hundreds of Secret Santas adopted all 1,300 senior citizens on Besa’s list. Those Secret Santas will now hit stores to buy more than $60,000 in gifts to share holiday cheer with those local seniors.

“It is absolutely heartwarming to see people so excited to spread kindness and give love through this program,” said Besa Executive Director Matthew Goldstein. “Without these Secret Santas, many seniors would not receive holiday gifts. Their requests are humbling and beautiful—as is this entire program.”

Here are examples of the senior wishes:

Mary has a dog named Luke and he is her pride and joy. Phyllis and Conrad support each other every day. She would like Luke to have enough food and a dog bed to sleep on. Phyllis would also like a fuzzy blanket to cozy up next to Luke.

Susan is a very sweet little lady. Her husband of 55 years passed away earlier this year and has been looking for a hobby to keep her busy during the day. She likes to watch Bob Ross and is looking forward to painting along with him. She’s requesting a beginner’s paint set.

Rose is a grandmother to a toddler. She stated that she would also like a cake pan to bake a cake for her grandson.

This year marks the sixth for Besa’s involvement with the gifting program, which was launched by Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging several years ago and allows volunteers to sign up as Secret Santas for local senior citizens. Besa’s involvement with the program began in 2012, when Besa enlisted Secret Santas to buy $240 in gifts for 26 seniors. Since then, Besa’s Adopt a Senior drive has provided about $100,000 in holiday gifts to more than 2,000 senior citizens. By year’s end, the program will have provided more than $160,000 in gifts to more than 3,300 seniors.

This year, Humana is underwriting the cost of Besa’s work behind Adopt a Senior. Additional partners include Big Lots, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and The Columbus Foundation, among others.

Each Secret Santa receives a wish list from a local senior citizen. Secret Santas then purchase and wrap gifts, leave the gifts with Besa, and the COAAA and National Church Residences deliver the gifts.

While the Secret Santa program is full, people can still help local seniors by purchasing essentials for them from Besa’s Amazon Wish List. Order any item, and it will ship directly to Besa, who will deliver the goods to local seniors. Gift away at

Besa is a Columbus nonprofit dedicated to supporting those who need it most by connecting people and businesses with local charities, from food pantries to homeless shelters. Besa offers a portal at where Columbus residents can easily find and register for volunteer opportunities citywide; it hosts drives for various nonprofits; and it helps corporate partners manage and enhance their philanthropic efforts. For more, visit

Kristy Eckert, Founder, Kristy Eckert Communications . 614.746.2787 .