Senior Friends committee proves there’s no better gift than giving
Twice a year, the elderly residents of The New Jewish Home in Manhattan line up outside their auditorium in anticipation of a shopping extravaganza. There is a Holiday Bazaar in December as well as a Spring Bazaar in May.
This past December, New York Junior League volunteers from the Senior Friends committee arrived at the Home to escort more than 50 senior residents through the Holiday Bazaar. Upon entering the auditorium, the residents knew there would be a plethora of gifts available for “purchase” to treat themselves and their loved ones. And just like any busy shopping spree, they wanted to be the first in line to ensure they bag the best items. This year the auditorium was filled to capacity and the line was one in, one out until the end of the Bazaar—a testament to the year-over-year quality and success of the event.
Senior Friends volunteers organize tables and tables of donations that include men and women’s clothing, jewelry, books, games, household accents, children’s items, and beauty products. Friends, family, fellow New York Junior League volunteers, and co-workers are encouraged to donate new or gently used items for the seniors. This past year, committee co-chairs Katie Perrone and Katie White partnered with Adult Mentoring and Education committees to bring in items graciously donated by Bloomingdale’s. The department store did not disappoint—on the day of the event, six full-size vans loaded to the brim with household items were delivered. The seniors were thrilled with the beautiful blankets, duvets, pillows, and high thread-count sheets.
At the beginning of the night, each resident was given five Monopoly dollars which allots them five items from the Bazaar. The committee, however, does not limit their spending if they see something that is a “must have”! As a result, the seniors usually go home with more than five items from their shopping spree. Senior Friends volunteers escort residents from table to table to ensure they go home with items they will treasure.
As the night comes to a close and the cleanup begins, committee volunteers reflect on the success of the evening: they recall that the seniors’ faces say it all. Their smiles and laughter reflect the joy of finding a book for a grandchild, the perfect picture frame to accentuate a photo of loved ones, and a baseball cap representing a favorite New York sports team. It is a reminder that, no matter what your age, there is simply no better gift than giving.
The Senior Friends Spring Bazaar at The New Jewish Home is taking place on May 9, 2017. Please be on the lookout for a reminder in the Friday Flash on when the committee will be collecting donations for the event!