Staffers from Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) are stepping-up to help local children in-need this holiday season.
Coordinated in partnership with Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) the SCES gift drive is providing more than 50 presents for children from eight local families. SCES Director of Clinical Services Annie Fowler said it’s a relatively new tradition that the agency has wholeheartedly embraced.
“It’s really popular with our staff,” she said. “When I put out an email asking if people wanted to be involved, I got about 10 or 15 responses within a couple of minutes.”
Fowler said the SCES Gift Drive grew out of the agency’s ongoing collaboration with CHA’s Complex Care Management teams, which combine the perspectives of nurses, social workers and community health workers to provide better care. Fowler meets with CHA staffers regularly through the program and said a discussion with pediatric social worker Julie Ain really got the ball rolling.
“Last November she made a comment about how this is a hard time of year for her, because she sees so many families that either mission the deadlines for toy donation programs or are just slightly over the eligibility requirements,” said Fowler. “I remembered we had a toy drive in the past, and told her we’d try to help out.”
Fowler found that plenty of staffers were willing to help out, and Ain supplied them with wish lists from patients who needed warm clothing and toys. Overall, Ain said its been a great arrangement.
“We would like to thank the staff at SCES for their wonderful collaboration with us on behalf of our families,” said Ain. “This can be such a difficult time of the year for so many of our families. We are so grateful for their tireless efforts.”
SCES and CHA also have an ongoing collaboration through the Transitions program, which helps patients avoid unnecessary hospital re-admissions by coordinating medical and social services efforts. Transitions facilitates access to a variety of community service programs that support independence and well-being in a community setting, and is provided for free to patients with Medicare A&B.
SCES Case Worker Cassie Cramer has supported the gift drive in each of the past two years, and said it’s just one of many ways the two organizations are doing good things in the community.
“We partner with Cambridge Health Alliance in many ways to support individuals and families that are at risk and/or disadvantaged,” she said. “It is wonderful to be able to participate in the gift drive together- this is truly what the holidays are all about.”