Empath Health is all about caring for our community. We once again are helping spread Christmas cheer through our partnership with Silver Santas, which collects donations of gifts for Pinellas County seniors in need.

Suncoast PACE, a member of Empath Health, cares for chronically-ill seniors in Pinellas County to help them stay well and living safely in their homes and in the community. Sheri Gruden, the PACE intake/enrollment manager, has organized Silver Santas’ gifts for PACE participants for the last six years. She has enlisted staff, volunteers and the community to help purchase, wrap and donate gifts on participants’ wish-lists. PACE team members also assist with sorting, bagging and surprise deliveries of the gifts for participants.

“I love it. It’s a huge undertaking,” Gruden said.

This year there are 75 participants who will receive gifts donated entirely by Empath Health employees. The participants were nominated based on their need.

“For the first time, all of the gift bag donations are coming from Empath employees. The recipients are low-income, isolated and have little if any, family support. The participants will be thrilled to receive these gifts for the holiday,” she noted.

Gruden shared that many staff participated because they have lost loved ones and still wanted to give and make Christmas special for others. Some individuals provided for several gift bags, some teams pooled resources and “adopted” a participant, some people gave extras of toiletries and one Suncoast Hospice Foundation employee, Renee Perentesis, gave 10 beautiful afghans she handmade over the year.

Impressed with the outpouring of support, Gruden said, “Thank you to our employees. Their generosity is outstanding. They not only give of themselves every day in their care but have extended to giving from their hearts and wallets to those less fortunate,” she expressed.

We are here for you

Visit the Suncoast PACE website for more information about care.