It’s A Family Affair!

Samaritan is grateful for its staff! 

On Saturday, many staff members volunteered their time to personally deliver Thanksgiving baskets to our patients. They even made it a family affair! This is Social Worker Colleen Fritsch, with daughter Gloria. Together they delivered 3 baskets to 3 hospice patients and their families.



Giving Thanks, Preserving Memories

Samaritan has big Saturday plans!

135 Thanksgiving baskets sharing 500 meals will be delivered by volunteers to hospice patients and their families. The “Giving Thanks, Preserving Memories” program helps families enjoy time together instead of worrying about and planning a holiday meal.

Youth Volunteer Coordinator Sharon Wenner is at the helm of this project and organized our SamariTeens and Lenape teen volunteers to make holiday craft decorations for the baskets.

Yesterday the teens helped prepare the food made by CulinArt. Way to go! We are thankful for Sharon, the entire volunteer department, the teens and our donors who made this effort a reality! DONATE NOW:

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Samaritan Volunteers Giving Back on Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks, Preserving Memories

Hospice patients and their families receive Thanksgiving baskets to ease the holiday burden

Giving Thanks, Preserving Memories, now in its tenth year, works with nearly 100 volunteers just before Thanksgiving to prepare 500 meals for 130 families in the South Jersey area. The volunteers put together baskets consisting of meals, hand-crafted table decorations, cameras and frames and other items that would help preserve the memories of what could be a last Thanksgiving holiday together.

Samaritan volunteers Laurie DePerro and her two daughters, Alexa and Larissa, delivered a Thanksgiving basket to Samaritan patient William Pierce and his family. CBS Philly online reporter Crystal Cranmore chronicled their journey to Pierce’s house.

Here are some behind the scenes photos from that day. 

Arriving at the Pierce home.


Mr. Pierce is excited about his guests and the special Thanksgiving basket


Mr. Pierce enjoys telling stories from his days at RCA.Mr. Pierce is excited about his guests and the special Thanksgiving basket


Presenting the family their Thanksgiving basketMr. Pierce and his daughter enjoying our company and conversation


Getting ready for his moment on camera


Giving Thanks


We can't forget this guy! Charlie, their personable Siamese cat.


A Thanksgiving Message from Samaritan President/CEO Mary Ann Boccolini

Holiday Gatherings Evoke Gratefulness for the Great Fullness of Life

As I prepare again to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, I am filled again with a deep sense of gratitude for the non-material riches they bring to my life – the laughter, stories and prayers that we share.

Thanksgiving, of course, signals the start of a season of gatherings among family, friends, co-workers, neighbors. This season offers us the chance to savor gratefulness while also experiencing the great fullness of life amid the cycles by which we measure our days, our joys, our milestones.

Melodie Beattie writes, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

As the President/CEO of Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, I am privileged to witness this celebration of the natural cycles of life both personally and professionally on a daily basis. For, just as family and friends gather to welcome new life into a family, join their voices to sing “Happy Birthday” wishes or shed tears of joy as young lovers wed, so do families gather their presence to support, care for and yes, celebrate, the lives of loved ones with limited time on this earth.

One volunteer who recently lost a cherished daughter-in-law told how her family, amidst their sorrow, spent several beautiful evenings having “old-fashioned sleep-overs” at the hospital laughing, reminiscing and celebrating her life. Another patient’s daughter wrote of her family gathering around her mom, “Laughter and memorable stories enveloped the room, and through tears, we sang, danced, watched her favorite movies…and paid tribute to her every way we could think of. This time could not have been more perfect and we will cherish this week as we cherish everything else that made our lives rich with Mom.” 

While Samaritan witnesses these life-enriching gatherings 365 days a year, we are especially mindful of the poignancy of supporting families facing the end of a cherished life around the holidays or providing counseling to those grieving during a season of festivities.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PH.D. writes,  “Of all the gifts people can give to each other, the most meaningful and long lasting are a strong but simple love and the gift of story.”

So, as you celebrate each gathering this holiday season, take time to create memories that form stories that will enrich your family’s legacy for generations to come.

Take time to open dialogues, listen and record what each person’s wishes are now and in the future when health issues might prevent them from speaking for themselves. Our hospice provides easy-to-understand Advance Directive booklets. These guides assist families to raise delicate subjects — “talk turkey” if you will — and provide comforting roadmaps when the time to make difficult decisions arrives.

Take time to reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed in caring for a loved one or grieving a recent or past loss. Samaritan and many other social service agencies in our community stand ready to help during each important phase in your family’s life cycle.

Dr. Jill Henry has written, “Take the time to honor each stage of life, to experience each phase fully and openly, and then move on … cherish whatever season you are in, knowing that life changes, and you will be soon moving into another season, and another.”

By focusing on what’s important and experiencing each gathering in the great fullness of life, my wish is that each of us will enjoy the most meaningful season of our lives!