Staffers from Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SECS) recently donated more than 100 gifts for local children in need.
Coordinated in partnership with Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), the gift drive will benefit 22 children in eight local families, said SCES Clinical Director and drive organizer Annie Fowler. She thanked SCES staffers for their unprecedented support this year.
“I would say this was our best year ever,” said Fowler. “I had people volunteering to help within minutes of sending out the email announcing the drive, and we ended up with 25 staffers contributing.”
Now in its third year, the gift 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 credited a discussion with CHA pediatric social worker Julie Ain with getting the ball rolling.
“She told me that November is always a hard time for her, because she sees 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.”
Ain identifies the families that need help, and then speaks with the parents about what the children want and need. Fowler said its been a good system, saying warm clothing and toys are the most popular requests.
“Each child is getting at least three gifts, and they’re getting a mix of things that they really need and something fun,” said Fowler.
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 eldercare.org, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 for free advice and guidance.