Senior Stockings program will benefit the elderly this Christmas|
By Sheila Grant
Special to the Weekly
Bangor-based MAS Home Care wants to make the holidays a more cheerful time for the elderly. The agency provides support to the elderly and chronically ill, including personal care, help with chores and errands, and providing companionship.
“We got to see firsthand that some of them didn’t have family and spent that time alone” during the holidays, said Heather Dunphy, a clinical assistant with the agency. “It was a sad time for them, and we wanted to do something to better the holidays for them.”
The MAS Home Care Senior Stockings program is in its second year. Donations of cash and gift items ranging from health and beauty aids and pet supplies to blankets, books, and puzzles are welcome.
“Last year we reached out to 175 people,” said Dunphy. “This year we are hoping to double that.” While MAS Home Care clients are on the gift list, the agency has also reached out to nursing homes, adult day care facilities, and other agencies that provide in-home care to see if some of their clients also need a bit of Christmas cheer.
And while MAS offices in Westbrook and New Hampshire are also conducting Senior Stocking programs, each office makes an effort to keep donations working within the donor’s community.
“For example, Governor’s in Ellsworth donated to us, and we will use that donation for people in their area,” said Dunphy. “Last year, when we received cash, we took the people we had referrals for and discovered their likes and dislikes and whether or not they had pets, and we used that money to buy as many items as we could to touch as many people as we could.”
Cash makes gift giving more flexible, but any donated item is welcome, she said.
“We would never turn away anything,” said Dunphy. “If someone is willing to donate, we welcome that with open arms and will find an elderly person that would benefit.
“Even something like shampoo, razors, and soaps are things they may run out of and not necessarily have the money to go get more,” she said. “We can use coffee mugs, treats for their pets, blankets, address books, calendars, day planners, puzzles, books: We have a whole list. Anything is a gift that they might not receive otherwise.”
All gifts are hand-delivered so that the elders get a visit in addition to receiving some goodies. To make donating as convenient as possible, checks may be mailed to MAS Home Care of Maine, 360 Harlow St., Bangor, ME 04401.
Unwrapped gift items and gift cards may be dropped off at the office by Friday, Dec. 14, or donors may call (207) 561-9533 and ask for Heather Dunphy or Chip Sawyer to arrange to have gifts picked up.