Elves For Elders Is Set To Deliver Christmas Joy


Since 2015, Partners In Care, Maryland, has delivered Christmas joy to seniors through its Elves for Elders program.

The program delivers stuffed Christmas stockings to seniors who are isolated from the community, have little or no family or friends living in the area, or are financially struggling.

Partners In Care volunteer Susan Origlio started the program to honor her father after his death and to remember her parents’ strongly held belief that it’s always better to give than to receive. The small operation collected 80 stockings in 2015 and the number has risen ever since. Last year, the program collected 371 stockings, and Origlio aims to collect at least 400 this year.

Origlio remembers growing up and feeling that the holidays were more about being together than the commercialized fascinations of Black Friday or cyber sales. Rather than focus on other things, Origlio prefers remembering why we celebrate the season and to show gratitude for blessings.

“In gift-buying and wrapping paper, we lose the story of the birth of a baby in Bethlehem,” Origlio said. “We worry about the perfect menu, the perfect gift, and often never pause to count our blessings and think about those less fortunate.”

Having lost both of her parents, Origlio said she keeps the program going to preserve their memory and the lessons they imparted upon her.

“I want to keep this event genuine,” Origlio said.

Studies show that even before the pandemic, there was a loneliness epidemic among the elderly, and Origlio said there are inevitable losses that even the healthiest seniors face. She cited losing loved ones and friends along with decreased energy and mobility levels as a couple of examples.

“They can no longer do many of the things associated with getting ready for the holidays,” Origlio said. “They’ve been used to doing things for others, and now they have to depend on others more than they would like to.”

Origlio stressed the importance of kindness and the power that it holds. She hopes people will join her to spread the cheer.

How You Can Help

Individuals, families, coworkers, teams and friends looking for a community service project this year are welcome to participate in the Elves for Elders program. To participate, start by collecting stockings (approximately 16 inches) or sturdy Christmas gift bags (at least 9 inches) and fill each with items that would be gifted to a friend or family member.

In addition to accepting only new items, Origlio requests that edible items must be store-bought and not expired. One way to personalize a stocking is to include a handwritten note or Christmas card with well wishes from the donor. Stockings and gift bags must be marked male, female or general.

Some items that Origlio said would be good stocking stuffers include flashlights with batteries and night lights, hygiene products, warm clothing accessories, puzzles, books, candy, scratch-off lottery tickets, sewing kits and stationery. She cautioned not to include unwrapped items that are strongly scented, CDs or DVDs, and alcohol.

Drop-Off Instructions

Completed stockings or gift bags may be dropped off at Partners In Care, Maryland, located at 8151 Ritchie Highway in Pasadena. The dates for collection are November 17, 22, 29 and December 1. Donations are accepted from 10:00am to 2:00pm on those dates.

If you can’t make the official dates to deliver your donation, the group’s holiday party on December 3 at Frisco’s Taphouse in Gambrills affords a final opportunity for drop off at 3:00pm and afterward.

The program also accepts financial donations and gift cards. Interested donors can do so at partnersincaremd.salsalabs.org/e4e2022. Checks payable to Partners In Care, Maryland, Inc. are also welcome. In the note section of your check, write “Member Care.” For tax purposes, a donor acknowledgement letter will be provided.

This holiday season, Partners In Care reminds everyone that older adults don’t necessarily want things; they want time and love and companionship.

“You will love the feeling you get of bringing simple joy into someone’s life,” Origlio said.

For more information, contact Orglio at sueoriglio@partnersincare.org


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