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Volunteers helping seniors smile this winter

RUTLAND - For the third year in a row, At Home Senior Care and the Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging have chosen to fulfill this need by providing needed items for elders in our communities.

Starting in early November and continuing through December, At Home Senior Care and the Southwestern Vermont Council on the Aging began organizing and accepting donations for delivery to seniors.

There were collection boxes set up for Rutland area donations at the Brandon Free Library, Wal-Mart, College of Saint Joseph, Castleton State College Library, Circle K, Irving Oil, the Castleton Community Center, and the Godnick Adult Center.

This effort was also made possible through the generosity of employees at CVPS in Rutland, the Vermont Country Store, the office of Dr. Gary Breen, employees of the Smith Barney Office in Rutland, Carmie's Angels under Patty Sabotka working with the Mill River Union High School Key Club, students at Grace Congregational Church preschool, a 4H Club led by Courtney Hier, a Rutland Town Brownie troop, 6th graders from the Castleton Elementary School, as well as numerous individual contributors.

On Dec. 8, Geri Burke and Mary Lou Morrissette from At Home Senior Care, Lydia Thornblade, Nicole Pfeiffer, Marilyn Sura, and Brenda Howe from the AmeriCorps Neighbor to Neighbor Program at Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging, along with other volunteers and seniors from several area senior center sites organized an Healthy Aging Program at the Godnick Adult Center in Rutland.

The group spent the time wrapping many donated gifts that were too large for the stockings. In just a couple of hours, these eager volunteers wrapped a large number of gifts of a variety of shapes and sizes which are currently bringing an extra dose of comfort and joy to needy seniors in Rutland county. The time of wrapping was followed by a meal provided by Fitz-Vogt of Rutland. In the days following, case managers from the Council on Aging have been paying friendly visits and bringing bags of gifts and stuffed stockings to needy seniors.

On Dec. 18, the same AmeriCorps members, Melissa Morrison from At Home Senior Care of Bennington, and personnel from the Southwestern Council on Aging held a second Healthy Aging Program and meal to prepare similarly donated gifts and stockings from the Bennington area for that county's seniors.

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