Senior Gift Basket Project Nears Completion
By Jennifer O'Sullivan
This year in particular, working together to help others
is not merely seasonal. While the ScrippsAssists' Senior Basket
Project takes place during the holidays, it also serves as
the latest example of how good people can come together to
make a difference.
ScrippsAssists, which draws volunteers from The Scripps
Research Institute (TSRI), Scripps Green Hospital, and Scripps
Clinic, has been coordinating the Gift Basket Project with
The Senior Community Center downtown for the past five years.
Employees from the three Scripps institutions are encouraged
to donate items that will be assembled into gift baskets given
to senior citizens in San Diego.
Now, when I think "gift baskets," I normally think of fancy
presentations of somewhat frivolous itemsgourmet chocolate
shavings, jars of designer olives, or fruit-scented shampoos
beautifully arranged in cellophane-wrapped wicker. The great
thing about the baskets put together by the ScrippsAssists
volunteers is they're filled with items people can really
Among the requested items are: drinks such as Ensure and
Boost, scarves, hats, gloves, socks, slippers, handkerchiefs,
hand towels, Kleenex, brushes, combs, nail clippers, denture
cleaner, mouthwash, first aid supplies, magnifying glasses,
shampoo and conditioner, Reader's Digest issues, pens,
pencils, note pads, stationery, calendars, shaving cream,
razors, and combs. Items in especially high demand include:
crossword puzzles, playing cards, small puzzles, holiday ornaments
and decorations, holiday gift items (mugs, towels, toys),
cellophane wrap, flashlights, and batteries.
TSRI employees can drop off these items until noon on Monday,
December 3 in the following buildings: Immunology, Molecular
Biology, Human Resources, ICND, MEM (Room 265), CVN, BCC (near
the coffee cart), and 3377. Unless otherwise specified, drop-off
is at the building's reception area.
The baskets themselves, along with toothpaste, toothbrushes,
soaps, and deodorants, are provided by ScrippsAssists. However,
these items cost over $600, so if anyone would like to donate
money to defray this cost, they should contact Helen Plutner
Janet Hightower, ScrippsAssists volunteer and computer and
graphic artist in the BioMedical Graphics Department, estimates
they assemble about 120 baskets annually.
"Each year I am astounded at the generosity and creativity
of my coworkers," Janet says. "The task of assembling all
the baskets seems insurmountable, but we all work together
and before you know it we have 120 gorgeous baskets ready
to go. Towards the end of the assembly party we generally
get very giddy. We've been known to start wrapping and decorating
For more information on the Senior Basket Project and ScrippsAssists,
see the ScrippsAssists web page.
Betsy Penberth (left) and Allyson Ledsam
hold holiday baskets assembled by ScrippsAssists for San Diego
seniors. Photo by Alan McPhee.