In 1993, Marne visited her mother, in a suburban Chicago nursing home, before the Christmas holidays. Marne was taken aback by the sad words her mother had spoken. Marne suddenly came up with the perfect idea–help her mother shop for gifts. With the help of nurses Marne’s mother got into the rental car and they drove to stores her mother had frequented for many years. When the shopkeepers learned that Mrs. Kies was in the car in front of their stores, they enthusiastically came out with a selection of gifts for Maggie to choose from, letting her shop without leaving the car. Gifts piled high on Maggie’s lap, the two shoppers returned to the nursing home, and the excited nurses eagerly rushed out to greet them. Maggie gushed, “Hello ladies. I’ve been shopping!” The following year, Maggie was not able to get into a car, so Marne brought a variety of gifts to the nursing home for Maggie to make her own selections of gifts and again they enjoyed wrapping them and reminiscing. Contact Us
Maggie passed in the summer of 1995. As the holidays approached that year, Marne knew her mother couldn’t have been the only person in a nursing home who felt the way Maggie had. She telephoned Heritage Towers, an extended-care facility in Doylestown, and asked if they had residents who might enjoy “shopping” for special people in their lives. Using the money she would have spent to visit her mother, Marne provided gifts for six residents to give to others. Together they wrapped the presents, ate holiday cookies, and put handmade decorations on their bedroom doors. The residents were thrilled, and Wrapping Presence® was born.
The next year twenty people participated in the shopping activities, and by the fifth year, Marne was visiting three nursing home facilities with gifts for 120 residents. In 2001, 104 volunteers wrapped more than 1,500 gifts for 400 senior citizens living in 10 nursing homes in the Delaware Valley. Everyone agreed that they’d received far more for their efforts than they’d given. Today, in the Central Bucks County, PA area, the arms of Wrapping Presence reach over 1,000 residents in 18 nursing homes and there are residents at the Coatsville VA hospital and the Winchester House nursing home in Illinois.
One activity director commented, “You transformed our dining room into an exciting department store, complete with Santa, elves and Christmas memories.”