Redeemer hospice team assembles tins of cheer

They’re mak­ing a list and check­ing it twice. 

The list is filled with the names of hos­pice pa­tients and they’re check­ing to make sure each one of them re­ceives a little hol­i­day cheer.

The Holy Re­deem­er Hos­pice team will hand a tin full  of homemade cook­ies to each of its pa­tients be­fore Christ­mas. Jean Fran­cis, the vo­lun­teer co­ordin­at­or for Holy Re­deem­er Hos­pice, says that this year the team has put to­geth­er about 200 cook­ie tins.

On Monday, the cook­ie bri­gade filled the tins with about two dozen kinds of cook­ies, ran­ging from the tra­di­tion­al sug­ar cook­ie to sev­en-lay­er bars laden with fudge, coconut and but­ter­scotch.

“A lot of hos­pices do something for the fam­il­ies, mostly be­cause this is prob­ably the last hol­i­day these fam­il­ies will have to­geth­er,” Fran­cis said. “Cook­ies are a way to of­f­load some of [the pres­sure] from the fam­ily mem­bers and maybe make it easi­er on them.

“There are some people who are pretty much alone in their stage of life, ex­cept for us, and when we bring them a tin of cook­ies it’s like you gave them a Mer­cedes,” she said. “They’re very, very ap­pre­ci­at­ive.”

Holy Re­deem­er has been tak­ing on this an­nu­al pro­ject for more than 10 years, but it hasn’t been do­ing it alone. Each year, area schools and or­gan­iz­a­tions vo­lun­teer to bake the cook­ies.

This year, the culin­ary art stu­dents at George Wash­ing­ton High School and Swen­son High School and mem­bers of 33 Girl Scout troops from the Sandy Run Ser­vice Unit in Yard­ley donated cook­ies.

Betsy Scheg, a hu­man re­sources ex­ec­ut­ive at Holy Re­deem­er and the lead­er of one of the scout troops, reached out to the ser­vice unit last year. This year, Scheg said, the scouts baked nearly 2,500 cook­ies — about 206 dozen — and are plan­ning to make this an an­nu­al ser­vice pro­ject.

The hos­pice team mem­bers —  nurses, so­cial work­ers, vo­lun­teers and oth­er care­givers — picked up the cook­ies and spent sev­er­al hours at the Holy Re­deem­er Hos­pice headquar­ters on Town­send Road in North­east Philly and ar­rayed them in big tins topped with fest­ive bows. As they worked, they chat­ted and laughed and munched on some of the broken pieces.

“It’s just a bunch of cook­ies, but it’s very res­tor­at­ive, it’s very nice,” said Cathy Shotzber­ger, a so­cial work­er. “We can’t add ex­tra days to any­body’s life, but we can add to the qual­ity of that life.

“It’s the little touches that mat­ter most,” she ad­ded. “It’s a little sug­ar that goes a long way.” ••

Reach Megan Badger at 215-354-3081 or

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