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Christmas campaign helping seniors

T-L Photo/ ROBERT A. DEFRANK IC CARE Director of Marketing Tate Blanchard, left, with Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services Director Vince Gianangeli, are partnering during IC Care’s inaugural Christmas Campaign to raise money to assist area seniors. This year, donations will go to DJFS’s Adult Protective Services program.

WHEELING — Many senior citizens are alone or in need of assistance during the Christmas season. This year, IC Care (In-Home Companion Care), has kicked off an inaugural Christmas Campaign to raise money and awareness about how people in the area can get more involved with senior citizens. This year, they are partnering with Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services and collecting donations to be used for the DJFS Adult Protective Services program.

“This is the first year. It’s the inaugural Christmas Campaign,” Tate Blanchard, director of Marketing and Community Outreach with IC Care said. “Unfortunately, we often discover that many of our seniors throughout the Ohio Valley are becoming more and more isolated and have little to no family to care for them or even visit during the holidays.

That’s why we’ve created the IC Care Christmas Campaign to try to provide extra love and attention to the seniors who are referred to Belmont County APS.”

They will conclude the fundraiser just in time for Christmas.

“We’re hoping to have collections in by Dec. 20. That way we can present Belmont County APS with a check by Dec. 21, which is the Friday before Christmas,” Blanchard said.

The goal is to raise at least $1,000.

“With Adult Protective Services, they’re dealing with people who could potentially be our clients at some point at time,” Blanchard said, adding that the IC Care workers and staff are mandatory reporters and often work with APS.

“When we see something that we think is suspicious, or maybe we think someone is being neglected or being exploited, then we have to refer them to Belmont County APS.

We know they have a large caseload of seniors who need some additional help. In Christmas time, seniors are a vastly overlooked population.”

“That’s why we decided to develop this campaign and make Belmont County APS our inaugural beneficiary,” Blanchard said.

DJFS Director Vince Gianangeli said during the last 12 months the agency took 265 calls “and those calls are related to elder abuse.”

He noted elder abuse can include physical, emotional, sexual abuse, neglect and self-neglect. Gianangeli added that the opioid crisis further contributes to these issues.

“In particular, grandchildren could financially exploit grandparents to help support their drug habit. There’s those types of cases,” he said.

“We currently have a caseload of approximately 50. That’s an ongoing caseload,” Gianangeli said, adding that the donations will go to aid this current caseload.

“There’s a lot of seniors who don’t have family, that are alone this year. In this time of year, Christmas and the holidays coming, what Tate and IC Care are doing for Belmont County APS, collecting monetary donation for APS so we can help make a senior’s Christmas and New Years a little bit brighter.”

Holiday services include paying utility bills, purchasing a walker, groceries or other items they may need during the holidays.

IC Care has established a Paypal account and a Facebook site. Blanchard has also visited health fairs to spread word, as well as using social media.

“The response has been very positive,” Blanchard said.

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