"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
"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.
"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!"
"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
"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
"Moving to Arizona from Vermont a few years ago was exciting for us. After settling in, I soon realized that without small children or pets, meeting people would not be as easy. A neighbor, Sue, suggested I join her for a day to Volunteer with a charity that sounded very intriguing. Thanks to Sue, I’ve not only found a rewarding and fun way to give back to the community, but I have met some of the nicest friends!
I could immediately tell that ElderTLC was different than others I have experienced, where sometimes you felt like it was just a large business, doing the best that they could, but lacking connection. Cathleen, Linda & Tracy could not be more giving, generous or warm people. Honestly. Everyone who volunteers for ElderTLC relays these qualities about them! And, the service they provide for the less-fortunate in senior living facilities in Arizona is beyond anything I’ve come across before. One of the first things Cathleen explained to me was her philosophy for volunteering, which won me over immediately. That is, everyone has a hobby or a gift. They like to invite people to share those gifts within ElderTLC. For example, I love photography, and sharing my photos on Instagram. Cathleen right away asked if I would like to take photos for ElderTLC and post them on Instagram/Facebook. I was so excited! This was a perfect fit for me (and, I guess, for them!). And over the past few years, it’s become so evident that this philosophy works beautifully at ElderTLC. We have volunteers who are interested in marketing, organizing, decorating, socializing, shopping (seriously!), event planning, styling, sewing, crafting, jewelry making, baking—you name it—your hobby or gift is appreciated at ElderTLC!
Most important of all for me, is the gift of giving that ElderTLC provides. I am fortunate enough to also assist the facilities in their holiday shopping when they visit us. The stories I hear of their less fortunate residents, the love and gratitude they convey about ElderTLC, stays with me throughout the year. I even write down a lot of these stories, and tell family and friends about them. Charlie, a homeless man who had just been admitted to a Mesa facility, had a size 15 foot, so he had torn open his “shoes” at the toes so he could walk in them. We were able to give him a SIZE 15 pair of fluffy slipper/shoes for the Holidays! (*goosebumps*). Bill had been forced to leave behind his beloved and most important possession, a Golden Retriever, when he was placed in a senior living facility. We were able to provide a large stuffed animal Golden Retriever to make his holiday special (can you imagine his face when he opened THAT gift?). "
There are so many more heartwarming stories, and so many more reasons that I am grateful to have found ElderTLC. ~Lisa
I’m so happy that I found out about volunteer opportunities with ElderTLC in 2019. It has been such a rewarding experience whether creating gifts or setting up/taking down the shop. I especially loved shopping with nursing facility representatives at the shop. It was a joy to see their delight when we found the perfect gift for each of their residents. When one of the people I was helping came to tears because she was so happy with the gifts she would be able to present her residents, I teared up a little myself! It was also fun to work alongside the other enthusiastic volunteers who were clearly filled with the spirit of giving and making a difference for those less fortunate. ElderTLC does a great job helping our seniors in need and I’m proud to be part of their volunteer community.