SCES staffers give generously through annual CHA gift drive

Staffers from Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SECS) recently donated gifts for nearly two dozen local children in need.

Coordinated in partnership with Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), the gift drive will provide more than 75 gifts for children from 10 local families, said SCES Clinical Director and drive organizer Annie Fowler. She noted that 28 employees participated, saying that was the most ever.

“It’s really been great how our agency has embraced this gift drive,” said Fowler. “Our team has really supported this effort, and it’s great seeing everyone pitching in to make a difference.”

Staff from Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services recently donated more than 75 gifts through the agency’s annual gift drive partnership with Cambridge Health Alliance. 

SCES staffers purchased a wide range of gifts for the drive, ranging from winter coats, to clothing and toys. CHA Social Worker Meredith Jones said the outpouring has been terrific, fulfilling wish lists from families that need assistance due to medical emergency or other economic challenges.

“It’s been great that SCES has taken this on, to help us provide something extra where it’s needed most,” said Jones. “It’s also how great how drive tailors the giving to what the family wants and needs, so we know that they will truly use it.”

Now in its fourth year, the drive grew out of ongoing collaborations between SCES and 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 the collaboration grew out of discussions with CHA’s pediatric social workers.

“They said November is always a hard time, because they see so many families either miss the deadline for toy donation programs, or they’re just over the eligibility guidelines,” said Fowler. “I remembered we’d had a toy drive in the past, and told her we’d try to help out.”

That conversation was with CHA social worker Julie Ain, who worked with Jones this year to identify CHA families that could use assistance, and provided their wish lists to Fowler.

The following SCES staff contributed to the drive: Shamone Allien, Stephanie Becker, Rachel Berry, Cassie Cramer, Nina Cohen, Barbara D’Eramo, Annie Fowler, Allison Freeburn, Kathleen Gillespie, Amy Goodwin, Paul Hollings, Anne Keefe, Helia Kinney, Megan Krey, Courtney Johnson, Helia Kinney, Nathan Lamb, Tania Lopez, Lissa Marcucci, Michelle Mazzola, Nathaniel Meyer, Alison Payne, Claudia Perez, Nicole Poirier, Al Solomon, Ellyn Torres, Donna Vaskelis, and Kristine Wiitala

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. For more information, visit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 for free advice and guidance.