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 firstname.lastname@example.org