Volunteers Power SCES Holiday Bag Delivery Effort

Roughly 500 Meals on Wheels clients will receive a special delivery this December, thanks to the efforts of some dedicated volunteers and the Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) Holiday Bag program.

Assembled by roughly a dozen volunteers on Dec. 6, each Holiday Bag includes an assortment of snacks, candy, a calendar and greeting card. It’s an SCES tradition that every Meals on Wheels client receives one of those bag during the holidays, explained SCES Community Meals Director Deborah McLean.

“This is about giving them a thoughtful gift,” said McLean. “A lot of our clients don’t have people who come and visit them during the holidays, so we want to remember them and let them know how special they are.”

Holiday Bag
Roughly a dozen volunteers joined with Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services to pack special holiday gift bags for Meals on Wheels clients on Dec. 6. The bags were decorated by local elementary school students, and contained an assortment of sweets and baked goods. SCES PHOTO BY NATHAN LAMB

Most of the snacks were collected through donations, and the actual Holiday Bags were brightly decorated by local elementary students from the John F. Kennedy and East Somerville Community schools.

Now in her second year of helping out the program, volunteer Diane Martin said it’s a pretty good scene all-around.

“It’s a lot of fun, and I think it’s great to provide people with a little something extra during the holidays,” she said. “And the bags are fabulous.”

Speaking afterward, McLean said the Holiday Bags essentially wrap-up another season of intensive activity for the Meals Program, which starts with Farmers Market coupon distributions in the summer, followed by organizing Thanksgiving delivery, which includes a special meal and organizing volunteers, so the regular drivers can have the holiday off. McLean said the focus then shifts to nutrition training and outreach during the winter and spring, along with the year-round Brown Bag grocery supplement program.

Volunteerism is also a year-round activity at SCES. Cambridge resident Charles Studen typically works with the agency’s money management program, helping a local older adult pay bills and manage accounts, but he’s also made time the past couple of years to help pack the holiday bags.

“It’s a wonderful program,” he said. “I can only imagine how it could brighten somebody’s day to receive a bag of goodies like this.”