A Volunteer's Story -- Anne Bettis
"I connected with ElderTLC four years ago through North Central Women's League. I was immediately taken with the mission and the people behind this effort. It is hard to describe how gratifying it is when the facility shoppers come in to select holiday gifts for their residents. The level of care they display when choosing “just the right gift” for a certain resident really reinforces what we do.
"This year one facility sent the Director of Maintenance and one of his employees to shop. He said he wasn’t sure why they got tasked with the job of picking holiday gifts but it became clear when these two men got to work. They knew every person living there, knew their personalities and knew their needs. Their selections were individualized for the recipients and they felt great knowing they were a part of the process. We joked that they would insist on being able to do the shopping again next year.
"Being part of a program that might provide the only gift a low-income senior will receive for the holidays is one I can get behind. I am grateful to be part of ElderTLC."
-- Anne Bettis
"I was fortunate enough to find out about volunteering with ElderTLC from a dear friend of mine. Because the geriatric population (especially lower socioeconomic) is one that is typically marginalized and forgotten, I was on the hunt for a volunteer opportunity that would honor and bless not only elderly people, but the facilities and workers who take care of them. Well ElderTLC turned out to be the perfect fit! It is a wonderful, well-organized non-profit charity run by some truly amazing and kind ladies. Through all their year round efforts, they are able to provide a special and beautiful shopping experience for the caretakers who are able to pick out personalized and special gifts for their residents. I can’t begin to describe how much joy this brought not only to me, but to these wonderful caretakers. They were so appreciative and grateful for this fun opportunity to shop for their elders. This truly is an amazing organization whose positive impact is far reaching. I highly recommend getting involved in whatever way suits you!"
-- Amy Sutherland
A Volunteer's Story -- Shirley Bruns
"My name is Shirley Bruns and I first noticed a call out for volunteer help in our First Christian Scottsdale newsletter. We are an active outreach church, so it caught my interest - especially the focus for elderly that might miss some attention at the holiday season. I am so impressed after having served for two sessions! The selections of gifts were unique and caring and so were the women who worked with me. I plan to share the news of how worthy this non-profit is and bring some gifts and workers for next season. Thank you everyone for such a caring, loving project."
-- Shirley Bruns
"This was my first time with ElderTLC, and it was amazing. My friend Joyce had asked if I would like to help and am so happy I did. I felt and feel very blessed to have the opportunity to be just a small part of this awesome community. Just to know I would be able to put a smile on someone's face this Christmas was so fulfilling. ElderTLC is such a credit to themselves, the community and to the volunteers that had the opportunity to work alongside these wonderful ladies. Looking forward to working with them next year. Thank you and God bless each of you." -- Stormie Barfield
A Volunteer's Story -- Darla Helms
"I happened upon ElderTLC by accident one day a few years ago when the shop was set up near the Wildflower Bread Company. I peeked into the window and saw such a fun retail store environment, it intrigued me to return home and look up the organization. After perusing the info, I was drawn to ElderTLC because of its mission statement to help low income elderly since they are often overlooked and neglected. What sealed the deal for me was meeting Cathleen and Linda since they are both so fun, energetic and passionate about the cause. An added bonus is that I love all the people I’ve met through Elder TLC and have so enjoyed my time these past few years."
-- Darla Helms
I was in Walmart and saw a rack of men's shirts for $3.00. I walked over and joined a man who was also looking at them. I greeted him and asked, "Do you have all the shirts you would like? Because I'll probably buy the rest. Feel free to take as many as you want."
He replied, "I have two and that's plenty," and asked me why I was buying the shirts. I gave him my usual ElderTLC "elevator pitch" which I give over and over knowing the typical response is "Good for you," or "Bless your heart."
But this time was different. This kind man reached into his pocket and gave me $20, and said, "Let me help you buy the shirts." I was speechless and felt myself getting emotional.
I choked out, "I can't tell you how much this means to me. This is so kind of you. May I have your name and address so we can send you a receipt?"
He replied by reaching into his pocket and giving me another $20. "No, I just like what you are doing and want to help. I don't need a receipt."
I pulled myself together and said, "Let me tell you a little bit more about our nonprofit so you understand how your donation will be used." I quickly told him about how ElderTLC was an all-volunteer organization, that we shop year-round for clearance sales, our growth of 450% since 2016, and that we gave away over 4700 gifts in 2020.
When I finished, he told me that he has been very fortunate in his life and he likes to share his fortune with others. He then pulled out a $100 bill and handed it to me, "Please take this and continue your good works." At this point, I tried to give him back his original $40 donation thinking that he meant to give me $100 total. He smiled, "Keep it all," and he turned to continue his shopping.
To the kind Gentleman at Walmart,
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your donation was meaningful in so many ways. Not only because you will provide gifts to our seniors, but your kindness will also bring joy to our volunteers working so hard trying to acquire donations and inventory for our 2021 Holiday Shop. You lifted our spirits during a difficult year and we are so appreciative.
A Volunteer's Story -- Joanne Mier
"My sorority sister, Mary Anne Lachenmaier and I (Joanne Mier) were lucky enough to meet Cathleen Hartman in the fall of 2019 and learn all about ElderTLC. In June of 2020 we contacted Cathleen to see if our Phoenix Delta Gamma Alumnae chapter members could provide art supplies for ElderTLC’s Holiday Shop. Our sisters gave generously, enough to fill 2 cars with loads of art supplies. While delivering these items we let Cathleen know we’d be happy to help if she needed more volunteers to complete orders. As it turned out between the 2 of us, we gave ElderTLC 33 hours. It was fun to meet other volunteers, get to know the founders of ElderTLC and learn even more about their mission. We found the time spent gathering specific gifts, wrapping them, then packing in boxes for the receiving centers was very heartwarming. This is such a worthwhile organization. Hopefully Delta Gamma can participate again for 2021!"
A Volunteer's Story -- Anne Bettis
"As it has been for all of us in our personal lives, 2020 was a year like no other for ElderTLC. I recall one of the options considered this summer was to not deliver gifts this year, but to focus on preparing for a more “typical” 2021. While I understood this had to be considered, I also knew none of us close to this important effort could even imagine not forging ahead and figuring out how to deliver on our mission in a safe way. And that we did! 4694 gifts, 73 facilities, countless boxes, bows and Butterfingers... While the delivery of the gifts was different this year, the gratitude on the part of the facilities was more evident than ever. The stories we heard were everything we’ve heard on the news and more. Every time someone picked up their boxes we were reminded why we do what we do. And as David from Maryland Gardens said as he pumped his arms in the air, “ElderTLC rocks!”.
-- Anne Bettis
A Volunteer's Story -- Kari Blakley
"I have helped with ElderTLC for three years now. It’s been very rewarding to play a small part in brightening the holidays for the elderly, and sometimes forgotten in care homes. This organization is unique in that each gift is chosen specifically for each individual. It’s like you are a personal shopper, finding something special for each person in need. The employees from each care home that I have come into contact with express gratitude and delight from their residents upon receiving these personally chosen gifts."
-- Kari Blakley
"This was my 4th year at ElderTLC and I love this organization. Cathleen, Linda and Tracy have earned a straight shot to heaven. I was a tennis teammate of Cathleen's when ElderTLC was in its infancy, and was intrigued by the idea of giving gifts to seniors in need. Once I did my first day of volunteering I was hooked. The camaraderie of the volunteers, the warm fuzzy feeling you get of helping those in need and the feedback of the recipients makes this non-profit a priority in my Fall volunteer time. Although COVID threw us a curve this year, we were still able to pull this out with the help of our fearless leaders. Hats off and good tidings to all that helped this year and in years past. CHRISTmas is the reason for the season."
-- Lori Krimbill