|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
||For More Information, Contact:
|December 17, 2007
||Coria Holland, Director of Communications
||617-727-5300, ext. 258
County Probate & Family Probation Employee Makes Sure
Local Elderly Are at Top of Christmas List
Most people associate Christmas
with children and toys. Sadly, the elderly are not always
at the top of the list during this season of giving.
Bristol Probate & Family
Probation Employee Gloria Arruda hopes to change that with
the launch of a charity drive that will provide grocery
gift cards to needy New Bedford senior citizens who are
struggling to make their social security checks last.
on children this season which is a good thing. However,
the elderly are the forgotten. Many have little or no family
and are just so happy to see a face. But I found that the
one thing they want and can use the most are food cards,” said
Arruda. “They save them and use them sparingly. In
February, they still have them and buy food.”
Arruda, a Probation Operations
Manager, approached Coastline Elder Services and asked
Coastline’s Executive Director Charles Sisson for
the names of the agency’s 25 most neediest senior
citizens in the area. She is hoping to collect enough Stop & Shop
grocery cards and/or monetary donations to purchase grocery
cards for the elders on the list and to have cards or money
left over to help other elders in the Greater New Bedford
Sisson said of Arruda’s
effort, “There is a real need. There are so many
people who are hungry. At this time of year, elders are
feeling the pressure of gift giving and the need to make
their social security checks stretch. These gift cards
are the perfect way to help them get through the month.”
Sisson said Coastline serviced
7,000 senior citizens in the Greater New Bedford area last
year by providing homemakers (employees to help with cooking
and cleaning), money management, and legal services. The
agency also assisted elders who were abused or neglected.“
The largest growing population
of the elderly are those who are 85 years old or older.
They have outlived their retirement money and outlived
their spouses. They have been retired for 20 years and
have not collected a paycheck. This grocery card drive
during the holidays is a great way to address their most
basic of needs, food,” said Sisson.
Arruda, a 32-year Probation
employee, has organized holiday charity drives for the
past nine years which have benefited hundreds of people.
“It started with us (probation
department colleagues) buying things for each other. Then,
we decided we don’t need anything. Instead, we adopted
a family for the holiday. We bought whatever was on their
wish list,” said Arruda.
Another year, Arruda led a holiday
drive for a young boy stricken with cancer. The child’s
parents, struggling to pay the boy’s medical expenses,
had little left for Christmas presents. That year, Arruda
Last year, Arruda and her court
colleagues focused her efforts on recently immigrated Guatamalan
“They were poverty-stricken.
Some were abused,” she recalled. “And, all
they wanted was candies and blankets.”
Arruda’s efforts do not
end at Christmas. She also leads a Daffodil drive for the
American Cancer Society in February.
“There are people who
have so little. I just want to help,” said Arruda.