Christmas time is nearly here, and with that comes Bakersfield's seventh annual Christmas for Seniors program.

Once again run by the Bakersfield Police Department, the Christmas for Seniors program collects gifts and necessities such as toiletries for Kern County's homebound, isolated and low income seniors, many of whom are veterans or veterans' widows, according to a police news release.

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the program will kick off with a grand opening at this year's headquarters at East Hills Mall. The opening will include light refreshments and holiday cheer, according to the news release.

In the mall, the headquarters is on the west end in suite 1125 near Hope Christian Store. Starting Tuesday, the headquarters will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday for people to pick up seniors' wish lists, drop off donations and volunteer to organize and wrap gifts.

During the program, there will be several special events. From 7 a.m. to noon Friday, there will be a drive-thru drop-off for fleece blanket materials and toiletries at Santa Barbara Business College, 5300 California Ave. Then, starting at 1 p.m., the public is invited to help make blankets.

On Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 at the headquarters, Santa will be available for photos. The cost of a photo is a donated item, according to the news release.

For more information or to volunteer, contact BPD's community relations specialist, Sandy Morris, who heads the program. Call her at 703-8893 or email her at