This week businesses in Augusta and El Dorado will begin a holiday tradition — putting out boxes to collect donations for the annual Butler County Council of Realtors Christmas Project.


About 13 businesses will assist in the collection of items destined for holiday gift bags — bags that will be given to the Butler County Department on Aging.


"The Butler County Department of Aging has identified 80 recipients that are basically homebound and live alone. We are hoping to help make their Christmas Holiday a happy one," said Sue Hoefgen with Security First.


The elderly who will receive a holiday gift bag have been identified as "not having a support system."


"When you are isolated, depression and loneliness can set it, especially with the COVID pandemic we have experienced this year," a news release said. "The goal is to minimize these feelings by recognizing senior citizens who we know will spend Christmas alone.


The goal is to create 80 gift bags, filled with puzzles, playing cards, crossword puzzles, candy, snacks, lotion, toothpaste, soap, hygiene products, socks, gloves and non-perishable food items like canned soup, tuna, canned fruits and hot chocolate.


"Realtors and folks in Butler County can make this happen," a news release said. "Make it an office project or if you feel compelled to do it yourself, everything thing donate makes a difference."


Monetary donations are also welcome, with checks made out the Butler County Department on Aging. All funds donated will be used to purchase items for gift bags.


Participating businesses include Community National Bank and Trust of Augusta; B. Realty of Augusta; Sharp Realty of Augusta; Security First Title of Augusta and El Dorado; Sudduth Realty of Augusta; Commerce Bank of El Dorado; SunGroup Real Estate of El Dorado; Intrust Bank of El Dorado; Sundgren Realty of El Dorado; Farmers Insurance of El Dorado; and Stephen Mills Agency of El Dorado.


Boxes will be available for donations through Dec. 2.


For more information, contact Diana Burress at 316-258-2692, Linda Baines at 316-377-0093, Chreyl Alley at 316-253-3590 or Hoefgen at 316-644-8537.