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By Holly Walter and Marian Snyder
St. Mary’s of Lancaster, New York, spent the months of November and December 2020 planning and preparing to make Christmas a little brighter for the residents and staff of Symphony Manor, an Assisted Living facility in the heart of the village of Lancaster. The Ladies of Charity of St. Mary’s got the ball rolling by buying gifts for the men and women, raffle gifts, and writing at least three holiday cards for each of the residents to cheer them up. Beverly Sikora served as chair of the Ladies of Charity effort and the ladies worked from home and from the rectory at St. Mary’s Church on November 18th and 19th. They delivered their gifts as they were purchased to be wrapped at the facility.
In partnership with the Ladies of Charity group, the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Junior Ladies of Charity agreed to help in the purchase and delivery of stockings, stocking stuffers, and gifts. St. Vincent de Paul contributed 40 pairs of socks for men, gloves for all the residents, some men’s hats and briefs, women’s slippers, and 30 rolls of gift wrap. The Junior Ladies helped fill 120 new festive felt Christmas stockings that were donated by a generous parishioner. Donations were dropped off after being sorted into men’s and women’s stockings on December 22nd in time to set them up in front of the facility fireplace for the Christmas Party.
The stockings contained toiletries and personal care items such as toothbrushes and paste, combs, razors, after shave, soaps, lotion, deodorants, tissues, and snacks of crackers, cookies, and granola bars. The Junior Ladies also made table favors for the Christmas celebration. Junior Ladies Lauren and Emma Richardson worked on the 43 women’s stockings and Lauren and Ella Weydig did the same for the men’s 35 stockings. Sharon Ellis, Activities Director at Symphony Manor, wrapped the gifts as they came in from everyone.
It was a tremendous group effort by the Vincentian Family at St. Mary’s. The Ladies of Charity first got started helping the residents of Symphony Manor back in May when they purchased flowering plants for the female residents for Mother’s Day. We have been aiding and supporting the residents ever since during the many months of the Coronavirus Pandemic which had forced and continues to force isolation and loneliness on many in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The cooperation between three of the branches of the Vincentian family is a good example of how we can work together to assist those in need in our communities.
A quote from the writings of St. Vincent de Paul states, “Come now, let us engage ourselves with renewed love to serve the poor, and let us ever seek out the poorest and most abandoned of all.” We can all live by his words during this most difficult time in our nation and the world and bring joy all year long to those in need.