Greetings to all Wrapping Presence volunteers!
Welcome to 2020 and the beginning of the 26th year of providing joy and special memories to home bound nursing home residents during the December holidays. Many people, who are just hearing about Wrapping Presence, think it is an organization that comes to life for a few weeks each year during December. We all know better, as we are in elf mode 12 months, year in and year out. This year has gotten off a very unique start and has left our community, our country and the entire world in a turmoil. Hopefully each of you and your families are safe and well. The residents in all the nursing homes we visit have caring, compassionate staff and our thoughts and prayers are the best help we can offer today to lift up to them. Please know we are all in this together and we will come through it together, and stronger.
As many of you know from our wonderful 25th anniversary celebration luncheon in January, Marne decided to make the 25thanniversary celebration her farewell. We cannot thank her enough for all of her wonderful gifts and love she dedicated to Wrapping Presence since this idea of hers blossomed into the organization we have today. Even though we will all miss Marne’s energy and inspiration, Wrapping Presence will continue on for many years to come and the essence of Marne will be part of every facet of the organization.
For those of you who don’t know me, or only know me be name, I am Cheryl Paradiso. I have been blessed to be a part of Wrapping Presence for almost 20 years. My introduction to Marne came through the elementary youth program at Doylestown Presbyterian Church. Marne came to the rescue of our second son after he spilled an entire tray of plates piled with spaghetti and meatballs under their table. She joined him right under that table to ease the embarrassment and to begin the cleanup process. A few years later our oldest son was to assist his 7th grade Sunday School class on a Saturday morning at Heritage Towers. He needed wrapping paper, scotch tape and patience. Sounds just like the Marne we all know and love.
One change you will notice is that due to the size of our caring volunteers, like you, we are going to move some of our administrative tasks into computer technology. This will enable us to speed up communications to all of you. Please know that if anyone does not have internet capability there will still be mail going out and there will be still be some information that is mailed to everyone. The most vital arm of Wrapping Presence is our volunteer core and we will be sure we reach every finger of our volunteer arm.
Because of the unique shelter at home order covering our country, we have not been able to gather for the early sewing sessions that our craft captains had put together. As we move forward in the year, I have reserved three dates for the summer crafting. At this time, I am waiting to send them out as I do believe we will be changing those dates too.
Many of the residents in our nursing homes are now without visitors and outside communication, so if you have free time on your hands and would like to write some generic cards of warm greetings to residents, I’m sure they would be appreciated. I would suggest using nursing home addresses with attention to Director of Activities. These dedicated employees will see the notes are shared with residents.
Now back to taking Wrapping Presence into the next decade. When you have received this note, we would appreciate, if you are able to, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Name, email address, mailing address, home phone, cell phone, and the year you became a Wrapping Presence volunteer.
This will help tremendously in updating our volunteer data base. Thank you. Be safe, be happy, and share a phone call of kindness with one another each day.
With God’s Grace, Cheryl Paradiso
Attention returning volunteers! I NEED YOUR POSTCARDS ASAP!! There are still many of you that I haven’t heard from and WE NEED YOU, so please get those post cards in..many thanks!!!
This years Information Sessions for new volunteers have been amazingly successful and as a result we added one additional session on Wednesday, October 18th at 7:00 p.m. in Andrews Hall, Room 202, of Doylestown Presbyterian Church. See calendar for directions and please let me know to expect you!
The 2007 Season (our thirteenth!) has taken on a life of its own! The ten successful crafting sessions have yielded hundreds of fabulous door decorations and corsages/boutinieres. We had several new community organizations join us in this effort and we are most appreciative. The day before Thanksgiving I will be mailing out all of the Wrapping Buddy Team Assignments and the cookie bakers have all been notified.
The news of Wrapping Presence is spreading far and wide, with many new volunteers enabling us to serve a new Nursing Home this year. Welcome Elm Terrace Gardens of Landsdale to our Holiday Merrymaking! Thank you all for your continued enthusiastic and humbling support. This year will be one for the record books! Who says thirteen is an unlucky number? Not us!
The 2006 Season was an amazing experience for all involved. From volunteers to nursing home staff to residents and their families, everyone seems to agree that twelve was a magic number (this was our twelfth season!). Following is a sampling of the outpouring of grateful, delightful, and just plain excited letters that we have received in response to this season’s festivities:
“What a delightful way to treat the old folks! The kindness of strangers has done much to restore my faith in humanity.”
(Helen – resident)
“My husband Chris was one of the residents who was able to choose presents for myself and our three grandchildren. It was so much more meaningful for him to be able to choose the gifts himself rather than for me to purchase them and tell him that is what he is giving everyone. For Chris, it was the highlight of Christmas. We are forever thankful to you and your group.”
(Jean – a resident’s wife)
“I can’t thank you enough for all you did to make the Holidays special for our residents. They haven’t stopped talking about the whole day since you left andI wish you could see the residents’ faces now that they’re starting to give out the presents. Their faces light up and even their families are surprised to receive something!”
(Heather – Activities Director)
“You really deserve a round of applause; Lakeview was awesome and I was honored to be a part of it! Wrapping Presence is the best volunteer experience I have ever had. Thank you for letting me be a small part of your team!!!”
(C.C. – a Wrapping Buddy)
“Thank you once again for a spectacular Wrapping Presence experience. Everyone is always filled with the spirit of giving after you have been here.”
(Sue – Activities Director)
“Just a note to thank you and all your helpers for the wonderful time you showed us this past Thursday. Everyone was so kind and the gifts were so lovely. It was a nice “dream” and I enjoyed it very much!”
(Mary Ann – resident)
“What a beautiful idea. I read the article (about Wrapping Presence) in Nouveau magazine. My mother did not want to visit one Christmas because she had no gifts to bring. Please accept this small donation in her memory.”
“Yesterday was my first experience with Wrapping Presence at Lakeview in Doylestown. You should be very pleased with a job well done! It so exemplified the giving spirit of the season, thank you for your help in making it come true.”
(Bill – resident)
“Words cannot describe the feeling in the “shopping store” here at Pine Run. Pictures only capture that one smile; they don’t feel the electricity walking down the hall, they don’t capture the looks of anticipation from all of those faces. You can’t hear the joy in their voices when they pick out gifts, or grasp the immense and overwhelming sense of happiness and accomplishment as they leave with their beautiful bags and wreath and corsage in tow. I do know one thing, and that is that every single resident has a guardian angel and that is you!”
(Maureen – Activities Director)
“There are no words to explain how thankful I am for all your kindness.”
(Mary – resident)
“As family and friends came to visit, residents had gifts for them, and for the most part it is still a mystery – “Where did the gifts come from?” What an absolute delight to be a part of your Gifting.”
(Pat – Activities Director)
“Your program speaks of “true giving” from the heart, The generosity and care that you and your volunteers show to our residents is remarkable!”
(Pattie – Activities Director)
“I have worked at Manatawny Manor for many years and havenever had a volunteer group that was so caring, compassionate and patient. I can’t imagine the amount of time that you spent to prepare such a wonderful program. You certainly made our residents Christmas quite special.”
(Karen – Activities Director)
“This year at Buckingham Valley Nursing Home, I was helping a young resident of around forty to wrap the things that he had chosen for his wife and young children. With a huge grin on his face he would help with the wrapping by putting his finger on a ribbon or a fold of paper to hold it in place. Though his speech was somewhat impaired, his meaning was clear when he said that Wrapping Presence had made Christmas for him – and his delight in the pile of presents in front of him made that obvious. Incidentally, this also made my Christmas!”
(Audrey – Wrapping Buddy)
“…I have a particular male resident who stands out in my mind on that day. He and his wife are very devoted to each other; she visits almost daily. Because of his condition he is unable to leave our nursing home. Thus his feelings of self-worth have declined as he has lost much of his independence. With great joy he was able to choose a special gift for his mate of many years. He kept this treasure until just before Christmas when he presented it to his wife when they were alone. This was a very special time for them made possible by the wonderful people from Wrapping Presence.”
(Kathe – Activities Director)
“Words cannot begin to describe the difference you all make in our residents lives during the Holiday Season. To all the dedicated volunteers who come to Chandler Hall and to those “behind the scenes” I thank you! Your work is greatly appreciated by our staff, residents, and their families.”
(Chris – Activities Director)
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
People often ask me why I started Wrapping Presence. The obvious answer would be as a loving tribute to my parents who helped me see the need for this type of program. Considering the world situation, what we do is a “drop in the bucket” and I know that. But sometimes when our scary, volatile world seems to be spinning out of control, one has to grab on to something positive and focus on it, no matter how small it may seem. Wrapping Presence is that something for me.
Receiving an “all systems go”
from our social worker, Maureen
Just last week, we had our first afternoon crafting session of the 2006 season and I had hoped for 10 willing souls to show, but to my utter amazement, 42 smiling workers arrived and stayed late into the evening. I am continually awestruck by the team effort and comraderie that encompasses the Wrapping Presence volunteers. There, in our air conditioned oasis, sat an army of willing sports ranging in age from 5 to 90 with hands busily crafting holiday door decorations and corsages to the strains of Philadelphia’s “golden oldies” station. Some sang along, some even got up to dance! We were a team… Moms, Dads, friends, grandparents, kids and teens, this was truly a family affair. Everyone was chatting and laughing away with their fellow crafters, who had been but mere strangers less than an hour before. That’s what Wrapping Presence is all about.
It’s one thing for me to devote my time to this project, I have to… it’s my baby and I’m doing it for Mom & Daddy. But when I see other people take it on with such passion and devotion, it is really overwhelming. They thank me, when it is I who cannot find the words to thank them for their dedication to Wrapping Presence.
So as we gear up for another season of helping residence bound senior citizens recapture the joy of the holidays, I ask you to look within and ask yourself what is your “drop in the bucket?” What has made you feel positive and passionate about life in the midst of a war-torn world? Don’t worry. It’s there inside you and “it’s all good folks… it’s all good.”
P.S. Yay!! Several years in the making, and wrappingpresence.org is finally live! We’re excited to join the digital age and to have our own little corner of the internet. Hope it helps you to keep up with our adventures.