By Jillian Amodio
Typically when we think of the magic of Christmas, we picture the joyous faces of children, but what about those on the opposite end of the spectrum? For some seniors, the holidays can be lonely.
Sue Origlio works with Partners In Care to ensure that older adults are not forgotten. The nonprofit organization is celebrating its 25th year serving the senior population through a variety of programs designed to preserve their independence. The organization initially began by providing transportation and has since grown to include social activities, a boutique, advocacy services and facilitating home repairs.
What sets this organization apart is its ability to thrive on members serving one another through their unique skills and talents, which fosters a sense of community, self-worth and purpose. Volunteers choose how often to volunteer and some do so from their own homes.
Origlio’s mother frequently donated items to the organization’s boutique and always spoke fondly of the work they were doing. Even now, she still volunteers with the organization. Since 2016, she has addressed and written more than 5,500 birthday cards for members, averaging about 200 cards per month. Remembering birthdays means so much to members.
When Origlio retired in 2014, she began to frequent the boutique herself. “As an only child and caregiver for my parents, I was intrigued about an organization that assisted seniors,” she said. “I learned more about the organization and loved the idea of reciprocity.”
On a November afternoon in 2014, while visiting the boutique, Origlio read a notice asking for donations of filled stockings that would be gifted to a few members who were in need that holiday season. In years past, the small staff from Partners In Care would each donate a stocking themselves. Origlio’s father had recently died and she knew this particular holiday season would be especially difficult. She decided then to adopt this project in his honor.
Creating a Facebook event called Elves for Elders, Origlio began her quest to gather as many stockings as she could to help brighten the spirits of elders in need. The response she received was blissfully overwhelming. The first year, she received an astonishing 80 stockings. In addition to the stockings she picked up from friends and family, large packages bearing overstuffed stockings were delivered to her home. The following year, the stocking count was 140, and in 2017, the organization received 180 stockings. Volunteers from the organization ensure that each stocking is delivered.
When asked about her favorite moment from her endeavors with Partners In Care, Origlio said, “It would be impossible to capture all of the touching stories shared about how Partners In Care has touched people’s lives. I often find myself saying this organization is too good to be true, but it is true! The people who work for this organization are dedicated and caring.”
Origlio fondly recalled the time one of the recipients was handed her stocking and replied “I can’t remember the last time I received a gift. Partners In Care has really made my year. I’m so thankful.” That’s what this whole organization is about: touching the lives of those who might otherwise feel forgotten.
To volunteer, contact the Partners In Care staff at 410-544-4800. Even with a growing volunteer base, requests for assistance continue to exceed the capacity to help. Financial donations are appreciated and directly support the services and programs of Partners In Care. Donations can be made by contacting the office or through the www.partnersincare.org.
Every year, Origlio looks forward to experiencing the kindness and generosity of friends who come together to provide stockings and donations.
“This event is my Christmas,” said Origlio. “In a world where things can appear to be a bit uncaring and crazy, I am reminded of how caring and giving people can be.”