POCA, W.Va. -- Jacob Duchaine walked up to the porch of a square white house with green shutters as Mary Painter waited to greet him.
"Thank you so much. We really appreciate this," she said as Duchaine handed her a large white bag with "To: John and Mary Painter" written across the side.
Painter, 64, and her husband live in Black Betsy, but the two don't own a car and have trouble getting their own groceries. That's why Putnam Aging, a nonprofit agency for senior citizens in Putnam and its surrounding counties, delivers meals to the Painters six days a week.
"They have medical transportation for us, too, so that we can go to the doctor. That makes it nice," she said.
Putnam Aging has provided in-home care and services to the elderly for more than 30 years, but one of its more recent initiatives is bringing Christmas cheer to older people around the region. Duchaine, the public relations specialist for Putnam Aging, said presents for those the agency serves are made possible through West Virginia Senior Santa, a regional organization that collects items and donations for the elderly, and the local Veterans of Foreign Wars office, as well as Dr. Bridget Stevens, a Dunbar dentist who developed the idea eight years ago.
"Our program attempts to provide a variety of services because our seniors are important," Duchaine said. "Just because they've aged doesn't mean they stop being valuable members of our society."
The agency's caregivers ordinarily bring gifts to their patients, but Duchaine said he wanted to get out and help, and delivered several presents Monday morning in Poca and Black Betsy. Putnam Aging received about 110 gifts from area organizations this year, and 50 more were donated to the senior center in Hurricane.
"We provide some important services, and this is just another one of those, especially at such a difficult time of year for the elderly -- winter," he said.
Duchaine said seniors are referred to Putnam Aging in a number of ways, and can call the agency if they feel they are eligible for on of its programs. Putnam Aging has 19 "nutrition sites" across the region, including many senior centers, and serves more than 6,300 meals every month.