Penny Buckley

“Essentials”: A Program Meeting Needs with Donated Items

When North Shore Elder Services relocated to the current address at 300 Rosewood Drive in Danvers in 2014 not only did they add more space for staff but storage space was greatly expanded. This was key to the continued success of the “Essentials” program.

“Essentials” is a collection of donated useful items for elders that North Shore Elder Services is able to store on site. These items are available to staff to distribute to any older adults they may be working with who are in need.

It was a need that Intensive Care Manager Barbara Byrne recognized six years ago while working in the Protective Services Department at North Shore Elder Services. “I started the program with my Protective Services team because we were often times met with emergency situations and needed items readily available.  Now I oversee the program but it is a program that is successfully managed by our great volunteers.”

At this time, the most requested items are incontinence supplies, including waterproof pads for beds and furniture. Also on the accepting list are donations of durable medical equipment (walkers, wheelchairs, canes, shower chairs etc.); bedding items; and towels.  We are unable to accept clothing, small appliances, kitchenware and home decorative items.

If anyone has items from the list of things we can accept, a phone call to 978-406-4603 will be your first step. The program is managed by a team of volunteers and a return phone call will be made within a timely fashion.  The volunteer will help determine with you when you can drop off your donations to North Shore Elder Services.

One of North Shore Elder Services’ volunteers vital to the organization behind “Essentials” is Penny Buckley. Penny has been volunteering for four years and was pivotal in developing a system by which items are stored, displayed, and inventoried.  There is a second floor “Essentials” closet to house incontinence products and staff uses a sign-out sheet when taking a needed item.  There is a large storage space in the basement where all other donations are kept.

Penny speaks to the benefit of this larger storage space. “Previously at our other location things were set up more like a consignment shop.  There were a lot of items that were not appropriate to the needs of our seniors in the community.  For example, clothing did not get re-used or recycled and was taking up too much space.  Moving to Rosewood Drive has enhanced the ‘Essentials’ program.  There is now a system that works.”

Barbara Byrne sees the program expanding and exciting plans are underway that will include furniture and more storage for those large items. Again, at this time, it is the incontinence products that there is a critical need for.  “People are struggling financially and these products are very expensive.  Sometimes when a family member passes, there may be an overabundance of incontinence supplies because of the quantities that are shipped at one time.  We want people to know we will be happy to take those products and put them to good use.”

If you have new items (or gently used durable medical equipment) from our accepting list and you have been unsure as to what to do with them, North Shore Elder Services’ “Essentials” is your answer. If we can recycle items to those with need, you can know that your donations are making a difference to someone.

Author Info

Jayne Girodat

Jayne Girodat is the Communications Specialist at North Shore Elder Services. Along with ten years in the position of Caregiver Support Specialist at another ASAP, Jayne was a long-distance caregiver to parents for the same amount of time. That experience serves as motivation to better understand the issues of aging and to engage people in conversations about those issues. Jayne's background in teaching contributes to her appreciation of social media as a tool to educate readers on aging concerns. "I love asking people questions. Everyone likes to be heard. When you ask and then listen, you'll find everyone has a story and some of those stories are gems. I think it is particularly important to hear the voices of our older adults. Those are the stories I really connect to and hope to bring to North Shore Elder Services' audience."

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